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From the Vine Spring 2011

Mar 8, 2011

Click the link to download your .pdf copy of Winexpert's From the Vine Spring 2011.

Click the link to download your .pdf copy of Winexpert's From the Vine Spring 2011.


From the Vine Spring 2011 articles include the return of Twisted Mist, the new Island Mist Cranberry Malbec, this year's Selection Estate Small Lots release, Selection International Spanish Rosé and the benefits of aging your Selection Limited Edition wines.

 

March Limited Edition Now in Store

Mar 7, 2011

 

 

March's Limited Edition, Austrian Grüner Veltliner, is now on our shelves. If you placed a pre-order for this wine please drop into the shop to get your batch(es) underway.

The results of the first few Limited Edition releases from this year have been outstanding and we anticipate the trend to continue with Austrian Grüner Veltliner. We have a limited number of extra kits available for anyone who missed the pre-order or decided after the fact to add this wonderful wine to their cellar.

 


Austrian Gruner VeltlinerMarch: Austrian Gruner Veltliner

 

The Region: Grüner Veltliner is almost unique to the Niederösterreich, Austria’s growing region along the Danube River North of Vienna. It finds its finest balance in loess, the fine grained, densely compacted glacial dust that has blown in to the vineyards over many thousands of years. This unique terrior is largely responsible for the distinctive characteristics of arguably Austria’s greatest asset.

The Wine: Grüner Veltliner produces stunningly intense and concentrated wines that start with citrus and grapefruit aromas, hinting from the very beginning at the variety’s most distinguishing characteristic, the spicy fragrance of freshly ground white pepper. In addition to white pepper they can also show aromas of sour apples, flowers and minerals — surprisingly delicate.

The Food: The steely dryness and bracing acidity of Grüner Veltliner works brilliantly with seafood, mussels, salmon, grilled halibut, fish stew, and grilled oysters.

Ageing: This wine has huge ageing potential. After three months in the bottle it will present bright, simple flavours of citrus, but after a year the tropical fruits will come out to duel with the white pepper.

Sweetness Code: 0 (dry)

 

Click Here for the Limited Edition Feature Sheets

  


 

Earliest Known Winery found in Armenia

Feb 21, 2011

WASHINGTON — The earliest known winery has been uncovered in a cave in the mountains of Armenia.

WASHINGTON — The earliest known winery has been uncovered in a cave in the mountains of Armenia.

A vat to press the grapes, fermentation jars and even a cup and drinking bowl dating to about 6,000 years ago were discovered in the cave complex by an international team of researchers.

While older evidence of wine drinking has been found, this is the earliest example of complete wine production, according to Gregory Areshian of the University of California, Los Angeles, co-director of the excavation.

The findings, announced Tuesday by the National Geographic Society, are published in the online edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

"The evidence argues convincingly for a wine-making facility," said Patrick McGovern, scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, who was not part of the research team.

Such large-scale wine production implies that the Eurasian grape had already been domesticated, said McGovern, author of "Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverages."

The same Armenian area was the site of the discovery of the oldest known leather shoe, dated to about 5,500 years ago. That discovery at the area known as Areni-1 was reported last summer.

According to the archeologists, inside the cave was a shallow basin about 3 feet across that was positioned to drain into a deep vat.

The basin could have served as a wine press where people stomped the grapes with their feet, a method Areshian noted was traditional for centuries.

They also found grape seeds, remains of pressed grapes and dozens of dried vines. The seeds were from the same type of grapes -- Vitis vinifera vinifera -- still used to make wine.

The earliest comparable remains were found in the tomb of the ancient Egyptian king Scorpion I, dating to around 5,100 years ago.

Because the wine-making facility was found surrounded by graves, the researchers suggest the wine may have been intended for ceremonial use.

That made sense to McGovern, who noted that wine was the main beverage at funeral feasts and was later used for tomb offerings.

Indeed, he said, "Even in lowland regions like ancient Egypt where beer reigned supreme, special wines from the Nile Delta were required as funerary offerings and huge quantities of wine were consumed at major royal and religious festivals."

McGovern noted that similar vats for treading on grapes and jars for storage have been found around the Mediterranean area.

In his books, McGovern has suggested that a "wine culture," including the domestication of the Eurasian grape, was first consolidated in the mountainous regions around Armenia before moving to the south.

(Article by Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press Science Writer. Photo from Associated Press)

Wine Serving Temperatures

Feb 1, 2011

Did you know that almost all wine served in North America is served at the wrong temperature? It may not seem like a big deal; however, the wrong serving temperature can impair flavour and deprive the drinker of the full expression of a wine's character. Most of us have a tendency to serve our white wines a little too cold and our red wines a little too warm. Common wisdom tells us that we should serve red wines at room temperature and white wines chilled. However, in winter when we have our furnace running, room temperature will usually be warmer than the ideal for drinking red wine. Likewise, drinking white wine straight out of our refrigerator that is set at 2 degrees Celsius is too cold. If you serve a wine too cold, all the flavours and aroma will be hidden, and if you serve a wine too warm, all that you will taste is the alcohol.

Did you know that almost all wine served in North America is served at the wrong temperature? It may not seem like a big deal; however, the wrong serving temperature can impair flavour and deprive the drinker of the full expression of a wine's character. Most of us have a tendency to serve our white wines a little too cold and our red wines a little too warm. Common wisdom tells us that we should serve red wines at room temperature and white wines chilled. However, in winter when we have our furnace running, room temperature will usually be warmer than the ideal for drinking red wine. Likewise, drinking white wine straight out of our refrigerator that is set at 2 degrees Celsius is too cold. If you serve a wine too cold, all the flavours and aroma will be hidden, and if you serve a wine too warm, all that you will taste is the alcohol.

 

White Wine

White wines should be served cool, but not too cold. At 10-12°C (50-54°F) fruit and crispness are at their peak but at colder temperatures, bouquet and flavour nuances begin to recede and the wine goes numb.

Most restaurants hold their white wine in reach-in coolers, most of which also hold beer or soda. These refridgeration units are typically kept at 4°C (38°F). If your wine arrives as frosty as this, it's perfectly acceptable to ask the waiter to let it warm up before serving it. If you're not able to wait a half hour, have them bring an ice bucket of warm water, and hold the wine for five minutes to take the chill off.

Red Wine

Red wines should be served at cool room temperature, but not warm. At roughly 18-20°C (65-68°F) fruit becomes more evident on the palate and in harmony with the tannins. Served too warm, red wines will seem "hot" (high in alcohol) and flabby, with poor fruit/tannin balance. If you are served a red wine at this temperature, go ahead and ask for an ice bucket—don't be embarrassed or worried. You're paying for the wine and you can do anything you want with it. Hold it in the bucket for five to ten minutes to take the edge off the heat and then taste it. 

 

Serving your wine at the correct temperature just takes a little planning ahead. Most of us keep the white wines we plan to drink in the fridge but they should be removed a little while before you serve them, so that they are not overly cold when consumed. How long before depends on what type of wine it is. Conversely, a red wine stored at a temperature warmer than you wish to drink it can be chilled slightly by placing it in the fridge 30 or so minutes before serving. To rapidly chill a bottle of wine, placing it in iced water will be quicker than using your fridge.

Below is a brief guide to the suggested best serving temperature for different types of wine:

Wine Temperatures

 

Visit Easy Food & Wine to read more on wine serving temperatures.

(photo credit: Easy Food & Wine)

 

January Limited Editions Available Now

Jan 24, 2011

The January Limited Editions are here! If you placed a pre-order for one or both of the Australian Shiraz/Viognier or Pacifica White, please drop into Just Fine Wine to start your wine. In a couple of short months you will be taking home dazzling Limited Edition wine to add to your collection at home.

The January Limited Editions are here! If you placed a pre-order for one or both of the Australian Shiraz/Viognier or Pacifica White, please drop into Just Fine Wine to start your wine. In a couple of short months you will be taking home dazzling Limited Edition wine to add to your collection at home.

Many batches of these wines have already been started here at the shop and the quality of the product is clearly evident at the initial stages. It's safe to say we're in for quite a treat with these two - and we expect the same with the remainder of the Limited arriving in the coming months.


Australian Shiraz/ViognierJanuary: Australian Shiraz/Viognier

The Region: The warm climate and rich sandy loam soils of Australia’s Riverland region could produce high yields, but the artisan grape growers at Salmon Gum Vineyards remove half the fruit at bud-burst and limit irrigation. With smaller numbers of berries and water-stressed vines, the resultant grapes display highly concentrated flavour, aroma and body.

The Wine: Blending red and white grapes brings lush balance to this lively, deep ruby wine. Ripe berry fruit and violet aromas from the Shiraz are balanced by floral and stone fruit notes from the Viognier, with beguiling hints of orange blossom followed by toast and smokiness. There’s sufficient acidity to give it structure, but the overall impression is soft and velvety. The long, gentle finish is ripe and appealing with surprising complexity.

The Food: A great choice for game or meat dishes, it also works spectacularly with ratatouille and even soft fruit, especially combined with soft-ripened or goat’s cheeses. It’s also great all by itself as an elegant sipping wine.

Ageing: Appealingly bright and fruity when young, it will develop more of its fl oral aromas after six months, and after a year will begin to show violets and blackberry flavours, and continue to deepen in flavour.

Sweetness Code: 0 (dry)

Click Here for Feature Sheets 


Pacifica WhiteJanuary: Pacifica White

The Region: The Pacific Rim has micro-climates and terroir as diverse and excellent as any in the world. With Semillon from the blazing sunshine in Australia, Chardonnay from the crisp valley air in Okanagan, British Columbia, and Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier from the hot sunny mornings and cool afternoons of California’s North Coast, each vineyard also has unique soil ranging from sandy river bottom loam, to stony red clay, and nearly pure limestone.

The Wine: Pacifica White showcases bright fruit, excellent structure and a long layered finish running out from a veritable fruit salad of flavours and aromas. Complex pear and honey notes, grassy citrus and grapefruit, ripe apple, fig, melon, peach, and pineapple all mellow into spicy, honey, butter, butterscotch and hazelnut flavours that linger beguilingly.

The Food: Full-bodied yet supple, this wine has a range of fruit characters and enough acidity to stand up to a wide range of foods. Off dry, but perfectly balanced it works well with spices, seafood, clams, mussels in saffron cream, and especially with Asian food.

Ageing: Delicious and ready to drink almost immediately, this wine has the ability to change with time, evolving dominant notes from one grape to the next. Sauvignon Blanc’s citrus and herbs provide crispness early on, giving way to melon and honey notes of Semillon, then Viognier rises to show stone fruit, flowers, ripe apricots and candied orange peel while Chardonnay asserts its green apple and notes of white fruits and minerals.

Sweetness Code: 1 (perfectly balanced and luscious)

Click Here for Feature Sheets


 

Making Ice Wine

Jan 15, 2011

 

 

All winemaking relies heavily on a number of complex variables but the harvesting and making of Ice Wines take that process to a whole other level. It just so happens to be Ice Wine season and while Ice Wine itself is sweet and fruity, the behind the scenes harvesting is dark and cold.

The ice wine from Canada is anticipated to be exceptional this year, here's a video guide to how it is made.

You can make Ice Wine of your own at Just Fine Wine. We offer you two styles to choose from: Riesling Ice Wine (white) and Cabernet Franc Ice Wine (red).

(Photo Credit: Catavino.net)

 

Winter Wine Festivals

Dec 29, 2010

Just because it's Winter doesn't mean there are a lack of wine events. Whether you're on the East Coast or the West, this January has you covered in the wine festival department. 

Just because it's Winter doesn't mean there are a lack of wine events. Whether you're on the East Coast or the West, this January has you covered in the wine festival department. 

 

Starting with the West is the Winter Okanangan Wine Festival situated at the beautiful Sun Peaks Resort. Perfect for any snow and wine lover, this festival is all about enjoying the fresh powder on the mountains of the beautiful Okanagan followed by relishing in an array of award winning BC wines, seminars and delicious food.

 

On the other side of the Coast is the coveted Ontario Icewine featured at the 16th Annual Niagara Ice Wine Festival. This festival spans a fantastic 3 week period filled with local cuisine, live entertainment and of course some of the best wines of the region.

 

For more information on the Okanagan Winter Wine Festival, including events, dates and ticket information visit their official website.

 

For more information on the Niagara Ice Wine Festival, including events, dates and ticket information visit their official website.

 

(Photo Credit: The Wall Street Journal.com)

 

Cool Winter Wines

Dec 7, 2010

The colder weather generally brings on traditional comfort foods like roasts, stews and hearty soups. Therefore our wine pairings with these dishes naturally adapt to the change of pace. Much as you might enjoy a glass of Rose with your Summer BBQ to cool things down, there's nothing like a full bodied rich red to heat things up during the cooler temperatures. But by no means does that mean the exclusion of our beloved white wine. There is one beauty that can hold up to all of these wonderful reds.

The colder weather generally brings on traditional comfort foods like roasts, stews and hearty soups. Therefore our wine pairings with these dishes naturally adapt to the change of pace. Much as you might enjoy a glass of Rose with your Summer BBQ to cool things down, there's nothing like a full bodied rich red to heat things up during the cooler temperatures. But by no means does that mean the exclusion of our beloved white wine. There is one beauty that can hold up to all of these wonderful reds.

Let's start with the Reds:

First up is Cabernet Sauvignon which is a bold, hearty red wine also known as "the king of red grapes". This is a fruity wine rich in tannins and heavily oaked. A typical Cabernet will have notes of dark fruit like cherry, plum, cassis, blackberry, boysenberry as well as flavors of vanilla and coffee. As for a good food pairing, there is nothing quite like a nice Cabnernet with any kind of rich beef dish.

Next up we have Shiraz. Shiraz is big, bold, complex and very flavorful. This wine doesn't have a problem standing up to rich dishes such as roasted leg of lamb and hearty mushrooms but it's also perfect all on its own. With notes of ripe berry fruits, smoke and pepper, the versatility of the Shiraz is undeniable. 

Now lets talk about the Zinfandel. Here we have an extremely versatile wine that is a great choice for savoury dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs, eggplant parmesan, and lasagna but also serves extremely well with cheese platters and even chocolate. 

Is the cool weather only reserved for our big reds? Absolutely not. The last thing we would want to avoid during the Winter months are our white wines. They have a fantastic place no matter the season and that's exactly where a full bodied Chardonnay comes to play. Chardonnay is your big hitter white that pairs well with those cold weather dishes such as chowders, roasted chicken and pasta with cream sauce. With overtones of tropical fruits, vanilla and smoke, it is a great choice for the offerings of this time of year.

(Photo Credit: Italian Food Net.com)

 

Missed the Wine Tasting? No Problem.

Nov 28, 2010

So you didn't make it to the wine tasting and now you're wondering how you're supposed to know which of the Limited Editions you might like. Or maybe you did attend but still can't decide. For full descriptions of each wine you can visit our Limited Edition Wine Page or scroll down to the video presentation. We've also compiled some quick points about each wine below along with the commercial equivalent wine that we offered at the Wine Tasting in case you want to go out and try them for yourself. Just remember, our wines will be better! 

So you didn't make it to the wine tasting and now you're wondering how you're supposed to know which of the Limited Editions you might like. Or maybe you did attend but still can't decide. For full descriptions of each wine you can visit our Limited Edition Wine Page or scroll down to the video presentation. We've also compiled some quick points about each wine below along with the commercial equivalent wine that we offered at the Wine Tasting in case you want to go out and try them for yourself. Just remember, our wines will be better! 

January: Australian Shiraz/Viognier (Heaviest Body)

  • This is a full-bodied red wine, and the heaviest of the three reds, even though it is a blend of a white grape (Viognier) with a red grape (Shiraz). 90% Shiraz, 10% Viognier.
  • The grapes come from the Salmon Gum Vineyards in the Riverland District, which is part of the Murray Darling Basin. There's plenty of sunshine and heat in the Riverland which is perfect to ripen up the Shiraz, mixed with ample irrigation to control the rate of ripening
  • Viognier is an especially aromatic wine and the idea of blending it with Shiraz is to provide some soft aromatics to the heavy, tannic character of Shiraz
  • Distinguishing feature of Shiraz is the small berries with a thick skin. Most of the colour, flavour, aroma and tannin in red wine comes from the skin. Small berries = high skin to pulp ratio, so lots of big, robust fruit flavours. Thick skin = lots of tannin
  • There will be cross-over between the red and the white flavours. Shiraz will give chewy blackberry and chocolate notes with lots of tannin, but this will be balanced slightly by delicate perfume notes provided by Viognier.

Commerical Equivalent: Gemtree Bloodstone Shiraz Viognier - SKU # 775015 at BCLD - $18.99

January: Pacifica White (Off–Dry)

  • Like last year's Pacific Quartet, the Pacifica White also contains four different grape varietals from growing regions located on the Pacific Rim:
    - Sauvignon Blanc ~ California
    - Viognier ~ California
    - Chardonnay ~ Okanagan, BC
    - Semillon ~ Australia
  • It is not a traditional blend and each grape has been chosen for the balance that it provides to the others. This wine will have layers of flavour. Sauvignon Blanc is grassy and herbaceous. Viognier brings stone fruits and is very aromatic. Semillon provides a honey note. Chardonnay presents as crisp green apple.
  • It will appeal to lovers of slightly sweet wines (Gewurztraminer, Piesporter, Liebfraumilch), but off-dry does not mean that it is sweet. Off-dry means there is a perfect balance between the acid and fruit notes. In the case of the Pacifica White it means that it is luscious and juicy with a big mouth feel.
  • Has four completely different grapes than the Pacific Quartet so the wine will have different flavours; however, the  Pacifica White is a very similar style with the off-dry note and luscious fruit.

Commercial Equivalent: Sokol Blosser Evolution, Oregon, US - SKU # 616938 at BCLD - $20.99

February: Italian Primitivo (Medium Body)

  • Primitivo was previously thought to be the same grape as the more widely known Zinfandel. It was recently discovered that they share the same grape parent so they are very close genetically.
  • The Primitivo juice comes from the Puglia growing region which is the heel on the boot-like map of Italy. It's very hot in Puglia but the region receives a cooling effect from the Mediterranean which prevents the grapes from ripening to quickly.
  • An important characteristic of Primitivo is that they are very small grapes with a thin skin. This provides a high skin to pulp ratio, which means that you get big colour, flavour and aroma in Primitivo. The thin skin, however, means you have more delicate tannin than thicker skinned grapes.
  • The dominant flavour of Primitivo is ripe raspberries. As it ages you will get plums and spice. The tannin starts firm but softens with age to become silky smooth.

Commercial Equivalent: Salento Primitivo - SKU # 672444 at BCLD - $12.94

March: Austrian Grüner Veltliner (Dry)

  • Grüner Veltliner is the most widely planted grape in Austria, accounting for 37% of all vine plantings in the country.
  • Until the mid 80's, Grüner Veltliner was produced for quantity rather than quality. The past few decades have seen a significant rise in quality (premium growing techniques) and a rise of Grüner Veltliner on the world stage.
  • Wine geeks have known of this amazing wine for some time and it is now gaining popularity on trendy restaurant wine lists across Canada (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Victoria). Incredible with shellfish and seafood.
  • Grüner Veltliner is crisp and minerally with nice fruit flavours, similar in character to dry Riesling (particularly Okanagan), without the floral note usually associated with Riesling. Grüner Veltliner also draws comparisons with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris.
  • It will drink well young (if a little simple), but will age better than almost all other white wine. Ours will need age to bring out the complexity of flavours. 

Commercial Equivalent: Grooner Gruner Veltliner - SKU # 326231 at BCLD - $16.99

April: Portuguese Douro Tinto (Full Body)

  • The Douro Valley is the famous growing region that the juice comes from in Portugal and Tinto means "red" in Portuguese. So this wine is our "Douro Red" blend.
  • Portugal, particularly the Douro Valley region, is famous for producing port but many of the grapes that go into the premium ports also make remarkable fine dry red table wines which the Portuguese have been enjoying for centuries.
  • Douro Tinto is a blend of three red grapes: Touriga Nacionale, Tinta Roriz & Touriga Franca.
  • Touriga Nacionale - Considered the Douro region's finest red grape. Tiny berries that produce a big, dark robust wine.
  • Tinta Roriz - More commonly referred to as Tempranillo, which is the famous grape that makes up Rioja (Spain).
  • Touriga Franca - is Cabernet Franc to Touriga Nacionale's Cabernet Sauvignon. That is to say, if we look at this Douro blend in the terms of a classic Bourdeaux style blend, Touriga Nacionale provides lots of deep flavour & tannin, while Touriga Franca provides freshness and subtlety.
  • Young, this wine will show a lush blackcurrant flavour from the Nacionale, and violets/roses. With age the floral character will become more prominent.

Commercial Equivalent: Douro Red Quinta Do Crasto - SKU # 499764 at BCLD - $19.98

Note – lightest to heaviest in the reds would be in the order of 1.Primitivo 2.Douro Tinto 3.Shiraz/Viognier. Though, Primitivo is still medium bodied, whereas Douro Tinto and Shiraz/Viognier are both full bodied.

 

Winexpert Limited Edition 2010-Promo Video 08/2010 from Maverick Video Group on Vimeo.

All I Want for Christmas...

Nov 27, 2010

 

 

 

...is this amazing wine cellar!