Posts Tagged ‘Amarone’

Change of season – time to shop for different wines

Posted by Julie

Friday, April 26th, 2013
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During my recent trip to Shanghai I tasted some “Great Wall” wines which really did not inspire me to climb the wall despite the fact that China is the fifth world’s wine producing country. I’m so glad to be back in Ottawa in time for signs of Spring which to me include all the great wines in the LCBO Vintages release on Saturday April 27.

Although we’re all ready for a change in temperature and switching lighter style wines,  this release focuses on Italy’s Veneto, Appassimento and organic wines all perfect for hearty pastas. 

 What are Veneto wines?

No need for translation here…however Apassimento style wine is an ancient wine technique where the grapes are laid out on straw mats to allow them to dry. Depending on humidity and temperature, the grapes shrivel and develop high sugar concentration levels. After being crushed they produce concentrated rich wines such as Amarone and desert ones like “vin santo”.

The real splurge…

Although I cannot fathom anyone tiring of ice or late harvest wine, for something different, this release offers a wonderful Italian desert wine and a myriad of really big reds for those who are biting to grill some meat. There are also some fabulous new white wines from our Niagara region.

The real splurge however, would be the Veuve Clicquot Pondsardin Vintage Rose Champagne 2004 at $97.95, oh the mousse in this is divine and it does comes with a gift box.

So all this to say, if you are planning a special lunch or dinner, this release offers quite a selection of new beverages to help dress up any occasion.

Spring Cheers!

Julie

The Good Earth the Good Wine Betty’s Blend 2011

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$17.95 (Vintages #327791) 11.6% alcohol

Winery owner Nicolette Novak isn’t kidding when she includes the word ‘good’ in the name of her winery – there’s nothing but good wine at Good Earth. This blend is pale in colour with aromas of white blossoms and a bit of wet stone. Deliciously delicate in taste with a lovely mix of tree fruits like apricot and a pinch of tart apple. It’s dry fresh and light and a wine that I would call a crowd pleaser – no one could not like this wine!  It is a perfect afternoon drink on its own or with some soft cheese or light lunch.

 

La Cappuccina Soave 2012  (Organic)

DOC, Veneto, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages #081489) 12% alcohol

Perhaps it is because the grapes are grown at the site of an ancient chapel housed by Franciscan friars who, for over a century really knew how to grow grapes. The pale straw coloured wine is fresh and crisp with tastes of lemon-lime on the palate. It is clean tasting, fruity but bone dry & the wine is sulphur free with lively acidity.  It’s a fabulous sipper or would be perfect with some shellfish or other seafood. I can practically imagine an Italian piazza, some brilliant sunshine, nibbles of grilled calamari and of course having a glass of this cool zesty delicious Soave.

 

EOS Estate Petite Sirah 2009

Paso Robles, California, U.S.A.
$19.95 (Vintages #317677) 13.9% alcohol

It is coincidental that on 5 April 2013, in Ottawa, I poured for the EOS Estate Winery at the California Wine Show. There were not many Petite Sirah’s at the show so this wine was a popular novelty.  EOS, named after the Greek Goddess of dawn, is the largest winery on California’s Central Coast to run completely on alternative energy. Layered with dark fruits and a peppery pinch of coffee on the finish; a great sipper on its own or with a lamb/feta burger.

 

Chateau Haut-Plaisance 2010

Ac Montagne Saint Emilion, France
$17.00 (Vintages 326587) 15% alcohol

A rich garnet red Bordeaux blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabnert Franc – a classic full bodied Meritage. Heady aromas of ripe dark fruit and violets that follow through with a little leather and pepper on the medium long finish. It is positively mouthcoating and delcious with firm medium tannins that would match a prime rib any day. It also won Gold Medals at the Concours General Agricole de Paris and Concours des Grands Vins de France in 2012- need I say more?

 

Antolini Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico 2009  (Dessert Wine)

DOC, Italy
$28.95 (Vintages #135533) 13.5% alcohol

Valpolicella ranks just after Chianti in total Italian Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wine production. This rich, luscious desert wine, made with Corvina and Rondinella grapes, derives part of its name (recioto) from ancient Greek dialect “recie” meaning ears. This refers to the lobes of a grape cluster that appear as “ears” becoming very ripe with direct sun exposure which in turn allows the natural sugars to concentrate. Following harvest, DOC Regulations dictate that Reciotos cannot be pressed before January 1. The grapes in this wine matured a year before bottling. Aromas and tastes of rich dark fruit, roasted almonds with chocolate overtones and spices reminiscent of Christmas cake. With a piece of dark chocolate or unsweetened chocolate cake, it would be heaven

 

Grand Total: $98.80

 

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Menu Matching – which wines to serve?

Posted by Gina

Monday, December 29th, 2008
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Gina –
From your bio, I see that you enjoy pairing wine with food.  Your help would be greatly appreciated to guide me in selecting wines for each course for my upcoming dinner party.

 

Appetizer: Endive boats with mango, blue cheese, candied pecans, warmed in oven.  Should I serve a Sauvignon Blanc? or perhaps a Viognier?

 

Soup Course: Butternut squash, apple, and smoked cheddar soup.  I have read alot about Quebec’s cider wine – what would you like of serving it with the soup?

 

Pasta Course: Homemade gnocchi.  My first inclination would be to serve a Valpolicella – what do you think?

 

Main Course: Grilled steak, creamy white beans, sauted green beans.  Do you have a favorite Australian Shiraz? or Cab Sauvignon to recommend?

 

Dessert Course: Flourless chocolate cake – I have read that a red Zinfandel from California is a good match with chocolate cake.  What do you think about this?

Thanks so much,
– MARY

Hi Mary,
Your menu sounds delicious and I like the direction you are going with your wine pairings.  With respect to your first wine, have you considered a sparkling?  They pair wonderfully with all kinds of foods, stimulate the palate for the dishes to come and make your guests feel special.  A dry cava from Spain or prosecco from Italy would be delicious.

I love soups!  Your Cider wine may be a good match at this point if it’s not too sweet.  A lightly oaked Chardonnay is another suggestion (but again, like sweetness in the cider, too much oak could steal the show from your lovely soup.)

Moving on…I really like your idea of a Valpolicella with the gnocchi and for the main course of grilled steaks, definitely uncork a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

For the dessert finale, if your flourless chocolate cake is like the recipe I use, it is on the wonderfully, richer side.  A red Zinfandel from California does work well with chocolate cake, yet with your menu, it may not be as much of a statement after the Cabernet Sauvignon. If your budget allows, perhaps you might like to try an Italian Amarone red wine (one of my favourites!) or a bottle of Spanish Madeira (lightly sweet).

Enjoy your evening!  If you get a chance perhaps you could let me know what wines you selected and what your dinner guests thought of the pairing.

Cheers!
-Gina

 

Hi Gina,
Thanks very much for your help! It was great to get such personalized assitance. I took your suggestion to go with a Sparkling wine with the appetizers, and it was perfect. This was a very nice set up for the rest of the night. I also went with a Chardonnay with the soup as you suggested, which complimented wonderfully.  As I anticipated, the Valpolicella went great with the gnocci, as did the Cab Sauv with the steaks.

 

The only thing that didn’t go “perfectly”, was the dessert. The LCBO that I went to didn’t have any Amarone, so I went with a bottle of port that I had in my house already. It could be just my tastebuds… I don’t particularly love port. In any case, all in all it was a great  night and my guests appreciated my efforts!

 

Thanks so much, I hope that I may ask your assistance in the future. I also find your website very useful.

 

Thanks again,
– MARY

 

Feel free to email the Savvy Team with your menu and we will offer you suggestions of wines to serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Holiday Values from Vintages

Posted by Susan

Friday, December 19th, 2008
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I’m a great one for that elusive combination of quality and value in a wine.  This holiday season, in addition to its regular selection of holiday spirits, LCBO Vintages is offering a range of products from previous releases that provide excellent value for money.  If you want a special wine for Christmas dinner or New Year’s Eve, or something to share with family or friends of a cold winter’s evening, visit you local Vintages boutique and speak to the product consultant about their special holiday sales and promotions.

As an example, if you’d like some refreshing fizz to get you in the holiday spirit, there are a range of products available.  I recently served the Nino Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut (#349662, $17.45, marked down from $20.95) at a birthday party.  This wine is produced on a family estate in the Veneto by an innovative winemaker who is the grandson of the original owner.  This is a bright, balanced bubbly with aromas of pear, apple and citrus that persist on the palate.   Light-bodied with a fine effervescence, it has a well-defined seam of acidity that will have you coming back for more.

If you’d like something a little more regal, consider the Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad Cava (#50864, $31.95, marked down from $37.95).  Segura Viudas is the crown jewel and an independent operation of the producer Freixenet.  A very special wine, the Heredad is the only Segura Viudas cava where the bottle is hand turned as it is aging.  I visited the 6 stories of underground cellars at Segura Viudas last year – the Heredad has its own special resting place.  Reserva Heredad is composed of 2/3 Macabeo and 1/3 Parellada, which are two of the three grapes used to produce cava in Spain (the third is Xarel-lo).  It experiences a very long aging process and has lovely toasty aromas and a very persistent finish.  The wine is captured in a unique bottle with intricately worked designs on the base and a heraldic brand on the bottle itself.  This would make a magnificent gift for a special person.

If you’re thinking of sitting by the fire some cold evening, snacking on cheese and crackers, consider a bottle of Amarone from these special Vintages offers.   For instance, the Giuseppe Campagnola Amarone della Valpolicella (#76653, $36.95, marked down from $46.95), or the Valpantena Torre Del Falasco Amarone (#922161, $42.95, marked down from $54.95).   Amarone is produced using three indigenous Italian grapes:  Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara.  Select bunches of the grapes are handpicked in the fall, then dried in a controlled environment until February to create concentration of the sugars.  After pressing and fermentation, the wine is aged 18-24 months in oak.  This process produces a rich, full-bodied wine with hints of dried fruit and chocolate.  At 15% alcohol, it is bound to create the warmth we all need at this time of year.  

Enjoy a happy holiday season!  All of us at Savvy Company want to see you next year, so remember to drink responsibly.

Susan

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