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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! 

What to Expect From a Sommelier

Nov 2, 2010

When enjoying a fine dining experience you may have the luxury of the service of a Sommelier. A Sommelier (pronounced soh-mel-YEA) is the French word for cellarmaster or wine steward and is a trained professional in charge of a restaurant's wine. From managing the wine cellar to finding that perfect wine to accompany your meal, a Sommelier wears many hats in the restaurant business. A Sommelier must have exceptional senses in order to be able to face the challenge of pairing the right wines with the many complex flavors of the restaurant's menu. A Sommelier's primary duty is developing the restaurant's wine list, often working in conjunction with the chef to pair appropriate wines complementary to the menu and most importantly creating a wonderful guest experience.

When enjoying a fine dining experience you may have the luxury of the service of a Sommelier. A Sommelier (pronounced soh-mel-YEA) is the French word for cellarmaster or wine steward and is a trained professional in charge of a restaurant's wine. From managing the wine cellar to finding that perfect wine to accompany your meal, a Sommelier wears many hats in the restaurant business. A Sommelier must have exceptional senses in order to be able to face the challenge of pairing the right wines with the many complex flavors of the restaurant's menu. A Sommelier's primary duty is developing the restaurant's wine list, often working in conjunction with the chef to pair appropriate wines complementary to the menu and most importantly creating a wonderful guest experience.

Your Sommelier will guide you through your food and wine pairings describing the wines in-depth. Having such a passion for wine, your Sommelier will be eager to impart the knowledge of why the wine pairs well with your dish as well as where the wine came from, the types of grapes used, the name of the vineyard and the region where it was produced. A Sommelier often encourages the customer to smell the wine and have a taste as they describe the wine's components. Be sure to enjoy the passion and knowledge from your Sommelier as it will only add joy to your dining experience and most importantly, don't be shy to ask questions you may have about your wine. After all, these questions are what any sommelier lives for.

(Photo Credit: Salut.com)

 

Reclaimed Oak Barrel Furniture and Accessories

Nov 2, 2010

As you may know, wine barrels are used as containers in which wine is aged but they don't serve that purpose forever. Being that barrels are a natural product means that they do have a shelf life. But wine barrels can be expensive so in an attempt at revenue return and for eco-friendly purposes, many furniture designers are happy to take those amazing barrels off the hands of Winemakers.

As you may know, wine barrels are used as containers in which wine is aged but they don't serve that purpose forever. Being that barrels are a natural product means that they do have a shelf life. But wine barrels can be expensive so in an attempt at revenue return and for eco-friendly purposes, many furniture designers are happy to take those amazing barrels off the hands of Winemakers.

Any wine enthusiast will marvel at the beauty and creativity of these hand crafted pieces. From a beautiful chic serving tray to one of the most magnificent home bar pieces around. The holidays are right around the corner and below are a list of gorgeous items made from used wine barrels. Perfectly suited for any wine lover in your life or of course, as a little treat for yourself:

Artist Claire Danthois's Home Bar/Wine Rack

Reclaimed Barrel Serving Tray

Oak Barrel Stave Cheese Boards and Paddle Boards

Chopping Blocks

Wine Barrel Candle Holder Centerpiece

Rustic Stave barrel benches 

The folding Wine Barrel Chair and Folding Wine Barrel Bench

Wine Barrel Lazy Susan

French Oak Wine Barrel Chandelier

Oak Barrel Stemware Rack and Holder

 

(Photo Credit: furnicraft.info)

 

French Gamay Nouveau Party Planner

Nov 1, 2010

Like Beaujolais Nouveau in France, Winexpert's Gamay Nouveau is a vin de l'année, a young wine to celebrate the end of harvest season. Nouveau-style wines are light, purple-pink, fruity, and considered by wine snobs to be 'easy drinking', usually accompanied by a nose-in-the-air attitude. The truth is that they're joyful wines, consumed for sheer pleasure. No heavy tannins, no need to break out the look-sniff-sip-spit wine-tasting moves, just pour, enjoy, repeat. Add happy guests, delicious low-effort food, and you'll have everything you need for a classic sophisticated but un-pompous get-together.

Like Beaujolais Nouveau in France, Winexpert's Gamay Nouveau is a vin de l'année, a young wine to celebrate the end of harvest season. Nouveau-style wines are light, purple-pink, fruity, and considered by wine snobs to be 'easy drinking', usually accompanied by a nose-in-the-air attitude. The truth is that they're joyful wines, consumed for sheer pleasure. No heavy tannins, no need to break out the look-sniff-sip-spit wine-tasting moves, just pour, enjoy, repeat. Add happy guests, delicious low-effort food, and you'll have everything you need for a classic sophisticated but un-pompous get-together.

Ready to drink at less than two months after the grapes are picked, Beaujolais has become the focus of a celebration that goes beyond a simple harvest festival and allows people in cities and regions outside of Beaujolais to toast the fruits of the vineyard with a celebration and a light-hearted party. The French even make a great game of racing their Nouveau wines to market as fast as possible, by train, airplane, balloon, and even on the Concorde!

There's no reason for those of us living outside France to miss out on a good party! The French have torchlight parades, fireworks and music festivals, but you can have as much fun on a slightly smaller scale, from a casual get-together, an appetiser assortment, or even a full French Bistro dinner! Friends, family, neighbours and winemaking pals will all want to participate. Don't think of it as a 'tasting'; think of it as a great excuse for a party. Here's how to pull it off with flair:

The Party Vibe

Casual, conversational, fun and definitely stylish, but with a certain je ne sais quoi. How you say? Ah, oui: Not trying too hard. Pretty up your house with fresh flowers and candlelight, but don't get too fussy. Think stand-up, move-around party, not sit-down dinner, and don't gather people around and walk them through a tasting. Your everyday white plates are fine, and both stemware and rustic tumblers wil do for the wine. Disposable cocktail plates are okay, though for a more eco-friendly option, try super-stylish biodegradable bamboo plates, or renting plates from a party supply house. (BONUS: you return them as-is and don't have to wash them!) 
 
Step One:

Start your Winexpert Seasonal Release Gamay Nouveau!  Then, decide:

  • Who is the party for? Friends, family, winemaking pals?
  • When is the party? Date, day of the week, time of day - make sure it's scheduled for when the Gamay is ready to drink, so plan on six to seven weeks after you pitch your yeast. The third Thursday in November is traditional, but make the date work for you.
  • Where is the party going to be? 
  • How many people are you inviting? 
  • What type of party is it? Brunch, lunch, hors d'oeuvres, buffet or sit-down meal? Remember, Gamay Nouveau isn't just for breakfast any more!

Step Two:

You've decided what type of party you're going to host, so now it's time to choose what sort of menu best fits the occassion. While you can serve any food you and your guests enjoy, French casual cuisine is a natural for celebrating this wonderful wine. Whatever menu you choose, it’s a great idea to be a "Locapour" and keep things local: The food and wine community has recently turned to the locavore concept, including the 100 Mile Diet, where consumers purchase local products both to support their community and to reduce their carbon footprint. There are even wineries now that only ship within 100 miles, and only in re-usable containers! If you’ve got an artisanal cheesemaker in your area, a great farmer’s market, a local butcher, be sure to make them part of your plans. You’ll support your local producers (never a bad idea!) and reduce your carbon footprint. 
Here are three menus you can follow, all simple and fun:

  1. Say ‘Fromage’: Cheese and Wine Party
    The simplest way to enjoy your Gamay Nouveau is with a simple cheese plate. Gamay Nouveau and cheese is a tasty combo - unlike other red wines, which can become muddled when their tannins run into the richness of cheese, Gamay Nouveau is a perfect foil, fruity and crisp. Served with crusty baguette and chilled butter, the following cheeses are excellent:

    Brie:
    Brie is a soft, creamy French cheese that is best served very fresh—ripe Brie can get quite aromatic and overwhelm Gamay Nouveau.

    Mild Cheddar:
    Cheddar is a firm English cheese that comes in all strengths. Choose a mild one to compliment this gentle red.

    Edam:
    Edam is a semi-hard, creamy cheese from Holland. It's slightly nutty and works well against the fruity flavors of the Gamay Nouveau.

    Munster:
    Munster is a French cheese - semi-soft, made from cow milk, with smooth holes. It can range from mild to sharp, but the milder version works best.

    Swiss:
    The classic! Elegant yellow cheese with large holes and a mild, nutty flavor, it’s a perfect foil for the soft fruitiness of Gamay Nouveau.
  2. Le Cocktail Party
    Perfect for any number of guests when you want a fun, celebratory mood. The classic French charcuterie platter is perfect for a Gamay Nouveau party.
    Charcuterie offerings typically includes paté, petite sausages (you could grill them the night before, refrigerate them, then re-heat in the oven the night of your party), and an assortment of little savories like black olives, cornichons, mustard and breads like baguette or whole-grain peasant loaf.
    You can include a cheese board, either with the varieties listed above, or if you have a good cheese supplier in your area, stretch your wings with a more challenging assortment of ripe Brie, Camembert, Morbier, Mimolette and Roquefort. For afters, lay on a tray of Madeleines, truffles or petit-fours with a steaming carafe of Café au lait.
  3. Le Bistro Chez Vous
    French Bistro cuisine is extremely hearty, unpretentious and the opposite of fussy, with many braises, stews and other dishes that are prepared ahead of time and served in generous portions with good bread, seasonal vegetables and plenty of vin Nouveau!
    If you want a classic experience you could make steak-frites, a very simply prepared steak with a mountain of crispy French fries. How often does anyone make homemade French fries anymore? Your guests will think it an amazing treat. Serve with a salad of fresh greens and you’re set.
    In Beaujolais vin Nouveau is used to make a traditional dessert with a glass of sliced peaches, topped with black currants and drenched in chilled Beaujolais wine. If peaches are out of season, or black currants are in short supply in your area, you can substitute fresh or thawed, frozen blackberries and peaches. Allow marinate for a half-hour before serving for a refreshing treat.

Whatever menu you choose, be sure to have fun. Remember, it’s a party, so make sure the hosts enjoy themselves as much as any guest!

Step 3: Let's Start Planning Your Party!

  • Make list of people to invite.
  • Mark the date on your calendar.
  • Send invitations (by mail, e-mail, Tweet-up, e-vite or phone).
  • Make sure menu is set and suitable for party size.
  • Make shopping list (food, paper goods, and decorations).
  • Plan cooking schedule: Determine what can be made ahead and frozen, day before, and that day, and what you are buying already prepared.
  • Make list of equipment needed (do you need to rent or borrow chairs and tables?).
  • Plan the layout of the rooms. (Make sure all the food tables are not right on top of each other to ensure smooth flow for people to mingle.)
  • Plan music.
  • Plan lighting.
  • Buy or make a centerpiece or other decorations.
  • Ensure you have enough cleaning supplies for before and after the party.
  • Make a checklist of what you are making with appropriate cooking equipment needed for each recipe.
  • Make sure you have al the platters and serving pieces you wil need.


During the Party
 
Make sure you've got:

  • Coat rack (hangers or a separate room to put coats.)
  • A place to put boots or umbrellas
  • Ice, and enough ice buckets or coolers to keep your Nouveau chilled
  • Cocktail napkins (have enough for 2 per person)
  • Toothpicks
  • Candles
  • Paper towels
  • Extra toilet paper, guest soaps, paper hand towels and potpourri (for powder room)
  • Plates and cutlery (appetizer, salad, dinner, dessert)
  • Glasses: Nouveau can be drunk out of anything, so be creative. The French serve it in one-pint 'Pot' glasses, but chunky water glasses, cheap wine glasses or jelly jars work great. No Styrofoam cups though!
  • Other glasses for water and soft drinks, and coffee cups
  • Silverware (remember al of the courses, a fresh spoon or stirrer is necessary for coffee)
  • If grilling, check the tank/charcoal/lighter fuel, bug spray, and citronela candles
  • Coffee and assortment of tea bags
  • Cream and sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Corkscrews! Have more than one, as a broken corkscrew is a tragedy.
  • Cameras, spare memory or film if you use it.
  • Garbage bags
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Club soda (for any thing that may spil, a great spot remover)
  • Space to chill your Gamay. It only takes soda 20 minutes to chill on ice. A large tub or picnic cooler can be used in a back room.
  • Picture taking. Get some shots of the party set up before your guests arrive. You may also want to designate a photographer to get good shots during the party, of folks having fun and toasting the Nouveau.

 
Consumables
 
Your food and wine menu wil be taken care of, but there are other things you'll need:

  • Ice. There's no such thing as too much ice. You'l need lots for coolers and ice buckets.
  • Soft drinks, juice, tea and coffee. Make a pot when guests arrive and set it out with cream, sugar, and artificial sweetener. Take care of your designated drivers!
  • Music. You don't have to hire a 15-piece band (although that would be totally awesome), but you should have a stereo system and a selection of party music. French chanteurs et chanteuses like Charles Aznavour, Serge Gainsbourg, Edith Piaf, Françoise Hardy, Jane Birkin, Stéphane Grappeli, Django Reinhardt, Plastic Bertrand,
    Gypsy music or any sort of party tunes that you enjoy are all good. If your collection isn't geared towards festive sounds, borrow from friends or have guests bring their favorites for a musical potluck. There's always a closet DJ in the crowd.
  • Lighting. Overhead lights can really harsh a melow party. Keep lighting dim and indirect. Create dramatic pools of light in key areas by clustering choirs of candles together, balling up Christmas lights and setting them out in bowls. If you're a real party maven you could instal a mirror ball with pin spot - they're surprisingly affordable. Black lights should be avoided, because they instantly reveal who has fake teeth and who's wearing a white bra under her sweater.
  • If you have a fireplace, light a fire to inject any party with relaxed elegance.
  • Decorations. You don't need piles of balloons or miles of crepe paper - that's for a high school prom. But it's nice to have flowers, candles (always unscented), and event-appropriate visuals, such as a poster of the Seine or even a basket of baguettes and berets. 

 
Notes On Party Equipment 

  • Paper goods. Buy cups, heavy-gauge plates, and napkins in various sizes, and don't forget the forks and knives. Even if you're using your own glassware and tableware, you should have stacks of cocktail napkins on hand for use as coasters, grease blotters, spill wipers, and olive pit receptacles.
  • Ashtrays. Even if you're banishing smokers to the back porch, have plenty of these on
    hand.
  • Wine cooler. An antique copper kettle is the most attractive option. A galvanized aluminum garbage can isn't as pretty, but if you can line it with a heavy-duty garbage bag it wil get the job done. The ugliest of al are those plastic coolers that get hauled to sports games, but that might fit in if your party is more of an ironic low-rent theme!
  • Trash cans. Keep a large trash can in the kitchen as well as strategically placed smaller trash cans so that guests can easy rid themselves of plates, napkins and the like. This will make your job of cleaning up a lot easier after the party.
  • And don't forget...corkscrews, bottle openers, stirrers, cocktail shakers, ice bucket and tongs, cutting boards, and enough sharp knives to handle meats and cheeses at the buffet and anything else that needs cutting up.
     

One More Thing
 
Have the number of your local taxi or Safe Ride Home service posted beside your phone and make sure those who need it use it. You don't need an excuse to have a party, but there's no excuse for partying and driving, and Just Fine Wine wants everyone to have a safe, fun time.

And do remember to have fun: the best parties are those where the host has as much fun as all the guests, and the best question a guest can ask is, 'When are you going to do this again!?'

 

How to Open and Serve a Bottle of Sparkling Wine

Oct 31, 2010

Opening a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine may seem like common knowledge to a wine expert but it's not the case for everyone. Actually it can be quite intimidating for a lot of people. There's no reason intimidation should dissuade anyone from enjoying a fabulous glass of bubbly. The video below demonstrates how to easily open and serve a bottle of sparking wine.

Opening a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine may seem like common knowledge to a wine expert but it's not the case for everyone. Actually it can be quite intimidating for a lot of people. There's no reason intimidation should dissuade anyone from enjoying a fabulous glass of bubbly. The video below demonstrates how to easily open and serve a bottle of sparking wine.

 

(Photo Credit: Southern Living.com)

 

Grow Your Own Wine Rack

Oct 30, 2010

Talk about one of the best projects for any gardener/wine enthusiast. This kit from EcoCentric, which is comprised of 22 pieces of willow, allows you to actually grow your own wine rack. A profoundly innovative although rustic idea, the willow can be planted either in a container or directly into the ground. The process requires the willow to be tethered together and then planted. This project is not exactly for the impatient as it takes two to three years before the willow lengths fuse together but when this happens, the wine rack can be harvested and brought indoors. Once developed the rack will hold up to 10 bottles of wine. This grow-your-own wine rack kit is eco-friendly, interactive, attractive and clearly a fabulous conversation piece.  

Talk about one of the best projects for any gardener/wine enthusiast. This kit from EcoCentric, which is comprised of 22 pieces of willow, allows you to actually grow your own wine rack. A profoundly innovative although rustic idea, the willow can be planted either in a container or directly into the ground. The process requires the willow to be tethered together and then planted. This project is not exactly for the impatient as it takes two to three years before the willow lengths fuse together but when this happens, the wine rack can be harvested and brought indoors. Once developed the rack will hold up to 10 bottles of wine. This grow-your-own wine rack kit is eco-friendly, interactive, attractive and clearly a fabulous conversation piece.  

(Photo Credit: EcoCentric.com)

 

Throwing a Hallo-Wine Party

Oct 22, 2010

Why should the kids have all of the fun on Halloween? Let them have their candy, and this year make sure the adults have their fun too by hosting a Hallo-Wine Party! Decorate your house in a spooky theme, invite your guests to dress up, sink your teeth into sinfully delicious appetizers and indulge in some deep, dark, wicked red wines.

Why should the kids have all of the fun on Halloween? Let them have their candy, and this year make sure the adults have their fun too by hosting a Hallo-Wine Party! Decorate your house in a spooky theme, invite your guests to dress up, sink your teeth into sinfully delicious appetizers and indulge in some deep, dark, wicked red wines.

Here is what you'll want to offer in the wine department: Rich, luscious, heavy reds like an Italian BaroloMerlotCabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz. In addition, if you plan on hosting a large party try mixing up Halloween themed drinks such as red wine sangria or mulled wine, both of which can be made in advance and are guaranteed party pleasers. As for appetizers, keeping in the spirit of Halloween, Pimento Cheese PawsSpinach Ricotta SkullsSpicy Bat Wings, Devils on Horseback and Savoury Pumpkin Puffs will do the trick.

Whether you are hosting or attending a Halloween party, there are plenty of treats to leave your mark. Check out the list of accessories below that will ensure a fabulously frightening Hallo-Wine Party:

"You're Invited to a Wicked Wine Party" Invitation Cards.

"Scare D Cat" Tumblers.

Skeleton Hand Wine Glasses.

White Ghost Bottle Stoppers.

Skull Swizzle Sticks.

Halloween Wine Glass Charms.

And for some inspiration on table presentation for your party CLICK HERE to see a fantastic Halloween spread. 

(Photo Credit: At Home with Kim Vallee)

 

Limited Editions Unveiled - You're Going to Love These Wines!

Oct 1, 2010

The clock has struck midnight and at last the secret is out; this year's Limited Edition lineup is finally unveiled! After last year's collection of the most popular Limited Editions of the past 20 years, Winexpert was hard pressed to follow it up with an equally amazing set of Limiteds. Just Fine Wine is happy to announce they did it! We had the opportunity to sample some "commercial equivalents" for this year's varietals and they are in a word, outstanding! More than one of these wines is sure to wind up on the next Limited Edition "best of" list. Limited Edition Wines are available by pre-order only; however, no deposit is required. Pre-order deadline is Tuesday, December 14, 2010.

The clock has struck midnight and at last the secret is out; this year's Limited Edition lineup is finally unveiled! After last year's collection of the most popular Limited Editions of the past 20 years, Winexpert was hard pressed to follow it up with an equally amazing set of Limiteds. Just Fine Wine is happy to announce they did it! We had the opportunity to sample some "commercial equivalents" for this year's varietals and they are in a word, outstanding! More than one of these wines is sure to wind up on the next Limited Edition "best of" list. Limited Edition Wines are available by pre-order only; however, no deposit is required. Pre-order deadline is Tuesday, December 14, 2010.

There are three ways to reserve your wine: 

  1. Email: info@justfinewine.ca
  2. Call: 604.944.7818
  3. In Person: Fill Out Your Downloadable Order Form and Bring it to Just Fine Wine

And don't forget that you can try out the "commercial equivalents" of the Limited Edition Wines on October 17th at our Annual Wine Tasting featuring the entertaining and informative Tim Vandergrift: 

Limited Edition Wine Tasting Oct 17th

 


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 fl oral 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 fl avour.

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 Viognierfrom 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 flavoursand aromas. Complex pear and honey notes, grassy citrus and grapefruit, ripe apple, fi g, 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


Italian PrimitivoFebruary: Italian Primitivo

The Region: Puglia forms a long narrow peninsula, making up the heel of the boot of Italy. Dry and warm, it basks in the Mediterranean sun, and has a long, rich history of grape growing. The Appenine mountains give an excellent range of elevations and soil types, and it produces more wine than any other region in Italy, specializing in intensely ripe grapes from its hillsides.

The Wine: Italian Primitivo is medium red in colour veering to brick, rich, and concentrated, exuding aromas of blackberry, plums, tobacco, prunes and red cherries, with the Italian signature of fi rm tannins and a long, gripping finish with notes of vanilla and toast. Like most Italian reds it retains acidity to balance fruit character and marry well with food.

The Food: Primitivo shines in the company of assertively flavoured foods like lamb, pork, grilled beef, ribs, roasted red meats, wild game, spicy cheeses and pizza. Its firm backbone of acids and tannins make it work well with rich and spicy foods like Italian sausages or lasagna.

Ageing: Medium-bodied but with good grip and intensity, this wine will begin to open up after six months, the richer flavours will show at 12 months.

Sweetness Code: 0 (dry)

 Click Here for Feature Sheets


Austrian Gruner VeltlinerMarch: Austrian Grüner 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 Feature Sheets


Portugese Douro TintoApril: Portugese Douro Tinto

The Region: The Douro valley is Portugal’s premium wine region. Situated along the Rio Douro (River of Gold), the scenery is spectacular and the soil is just about perfect for growing quality wine grapes. The climate is continental,very hot and desert-dry in the summer; cold and wet in the winter. Douro’s most memorable feature is its difficult terrain. Most of the slopes are so steep that the only way to grow anything is by creating terraces, the painstaking construction of dry stonewalls to support the banks of soil.

The Wine: A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca,the names may be unfamiliar, but Tinta Roriz is the same grape as Spanish Tempranillo. Together they make an intensely aromatic wine with an impressive depth of fruit and complexity. Black fruits such as cassis along with mulberry and raspberry predominate and are complemented by plums and tobacco, followed by the resinous aromas of violets and rockrose. High tannin levels and good natural acidity mean that the wine has an excellent potential for ageing without loss of structure or balance.

The Food: Incredibly flexible as a food wine, Douro Tinto will match perfectly with roasted lamb, or duck, barbecued meats, grilled eel and meat sauces. The finesse and complexity also make it intriguing just on its own.

Ageing: This wine will show black fruit, plums and a firm structure of acid and tannins. Six to twelve months will reveal more floral aromas and a hint of ripe berries and cassis.

Sweetness Code: 0 (dry) 

Click Here for Feature Sheets


Don't Miss Out. Reserve Your Limited Editions by Pre-Ordering Today:

 

Email: info@justfinewine.ca 

Call: 604.944.7818

In Person: Fill Out Your Downloadable Order Form and Bring it to Just Fine Wine

 

Pre-order deadline is Tuesday, December 14th, 2010.

 

Selection Limited Edition Series features a limited number of outstanding unique varieties from around the world that are released annually from January through April. These special wines are only available during their month of release and are immensely popular, so pre-registration is strongly advised. Winexpert’s Limited Editions have won numerous awards at various amateur winemaking competitions and continue to be a highly sought-after offering. In fact, wines made with Selection Limited Edition series wine kits consistently win medals at the WineMaker competition, which speaks to the high quality wines that these very special wine kits produce. Ask Just Fine Wine for more information.

Don't forget to try out our Limited Edition game and contest at www.limitededition2010.com.

 

Order Your Limited Edition Wine Today