I have an on and off love affair with nice wine glasses. Sometimes in the same evening. I love to drink out of nice big glasses and I really enjoy they way they look on a table . It’s very cool to walk into a restaurant for a wine dinner and see all the glassware patiently awaiting their next fill of champagne , wine or any other libation. I’m aware a lot of work goes into setting up for one of these events and have a lot of respect for waitstaff who get them looking spotless and aligned on the table. I also love a nicely set table at home but don’t look forward to the end of the evening with the same fondness I do in a restaurant because I know what awaits me. It is an absolute pain to deal with 30 or more glasses at midnite when you are tired and you have already consumed regrettable amounts of wine and food.
In our house we have learned a few tips to avoid general carnage and breakage.
Refuse all offers by guests to help clean up. Likely they are not in any better shape than you. Any assistance often results in breakage and/or other mayhem.
Do not attempt to wash them that evening, this also spells disaster. A quick rinse one at a time in the sink should suffice.
Set them aside and wash them in the morning . In our house they get washed one at a time with Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. And rinsed really really well with hot water.
If the glassware isn’t too precious put them in the dishwasher ( well spaced ) and set it on the delicate cycle. Quick rinse usually isn’t long or hot enough to fully remove the soap residue.
Years ago we went to Australia for a holiday and an unnamed winery in Rutherglen insisted on a fresh glass with every sample of wine . The soap residue was so strong we could barely smell the wine. I often wonder how they sold anything at all. There is a trick to removing the soap aromas from a glass. An on the spot solution ? Pour a small amount of wine into a soapy smelling glass ( maybe 10-15ml ) , slowly rotate the glass in your hand so the liquid rolls over all the interior surfaces of the glass and then dump it out. We call this “burning” a glass. The act of burning should result in a glass with minimal effects of glass washing and a nice experience for your next taste of wine. Given a choice of a fancy glass that’s a bit stinky and a super clean jam jar I would pick the jam jar every time. I want to smell the wine in my glass not the glass in my wine… Glassware producers I have been happy with in the past include Riedel , Spigelau or for the ultimate value IKEA is a great solution. If you are working in a restaurant setting then a call to Wine Cellar Depot for a brand called Stolze is in order. Great price point and excellent durability. Wine Cellar Depot also supplies ISO glasses to many wine educators as well. Stay tuned for a blog post on that in the future as well. Thanks for your time. If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers
In the world of wine writing and criticism it’s easy to succumb to the breathless hype and public relations that crosses my path on a daily basis. Chateau Cash-Flo received a 98 point score in publication Blah Blah! Our debut release of our Gamay got a 97 in the Daily Sediment Newsletter !!!! Over and over I receive newsletters and tweets about the newest and greatest wines. At some point you become numb to it all. How can all these wines be so great and why should I buy them when they have no track record or reputation for excellence ? The answer is that I don’t. I wait for the opportunity to taste them at the winery or with friends in a much more critical manner. My friends all know that dessert wines occupy a special place in my wine world. My very close friends know that I throw around nickles like they are manhole covers… It’s rare for me to spend the big money on a single bottle but sometimes I just gotta do it. A very meaningful milestone happened in my life in the past few weeks and this was the time to roll the dice on a big dog wine. A friend of mine has a fantastic collection of great wines and among that collection he has a pretty serious amount of the greatest dessert wine in the world, Chateau d’Yquem. He was willing to part with a 750ml bottle of the 2000 vintage after I explained what my plans were. Chateau d’Yquem has a storied history going back a very long way. It was first planted in 1711. See link to Wikipedia here . You will be hard pressed ( pardon the pun ) to find a winery with such a long and storied history. The property is quite susceptible to Botrytis ( the type of fungus that causes the grapes to transpire and concentrate the sugars in a lower volume of liquid ) Typically the pickers will go through the vineyard 6 times and only pick the ripest grapes for this wine. A huge investment in time and labor results in a mind boggling extraction but with a delicacy that defies belief. This is my wine of the year and in the top 50 wines of my life . Super aromatic with notes of smoky lapsang souchong tea and a rich apricot and sweet caramel mid palate. We drank it over 4 days and every single sip was an emotional roller coaster. The history and commitment to quality was evident the entire time. Definitely a special experience but it will help you understand why wine is such a special product . BC Liquor Stores has a selection of vintages . Thanks for your time. If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers
Ok it’s time for a confession. Burgundy is probably the least represented wine region in my collection. I made a conscious decision years ago to not fall in love with Red Burgundy. Mainly because I couldn’t afford the best examples. I figured I could afford 90 % of the great Syrah and Riesling wines in the world and almost none of the greatest Burgundies made. Small production and existing client bases mean that the wines are rarely available on the open market and if they are the prices would be eye watering. Over the years the world of wine has become more and more competitive for great Burgundy so I didn’t feel like I was missing out as the quality price ratio wasn’t making sense. While I still have a fondness for Syrah and Riesling ( sweet wines too) I’m willing to see what’s out there and stretch my brain, so to speak. Last week I had an opportunity to taste some excellent red and white burgundy in Kelowna. Van Doren Chan from That’s Life Gourmet made the arduous trip from Vancouver to Cask and Barrel Liquor Store in West Kelowna. Van Doren ( as she is known) is an enthusiastic wine knowledgeable representative that is passionate about spreading the word of wine . Van Doren gave a short overview of each producer and was well equipped to answer questions about soil type and terroir from a nerdy group of wine lovers, wine makers and others like me. She brought a nice sampling of wines from Marchand Grillot, Domaine Alraud,Arnoux Lachaux ( formerly Domaine Robert Arnoux), Domaine Vigot, Roblet Monnot , Domaine Ramonet and Domaine Comte Armand. What a treat, purity and sense of place were present in all the wines. These wines are made in very small quantities and rarely seen outside of the lower Mainland. Bourgogne and its five wine-producing regions
La Bourgogne et ses cinq regions viticoles The tasting was part of a series called the “Warehouse Sessions” organized by Shanyn Ward of Cask and Barrel Liquor Store. She has extensive wine experience in retail, restaurant settings and is a rising star in the BC wine scene. She is also a judge for the BC VQA program and a writer for local papers , https://www.kelownacapnews.com/tag/wineology/ . I get tired just looking at her schedule but never get tired of talking to her about wine. If you are a wine lover and in the Central Okanagan you must stop and check out the store at 1135 Stevens Rd #109, West Kelowna, BC V1Z 2S8 open 9am-11pm daily . Contact Shanyn at firstname.lastname@example.org for info on the current availability of the That’s Life Gourmet wines and upcoming events like the Warehouse Sessions . Thanks for your time. f you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers
Earlier in this blog I referenced Penfolds wines . I think it’s time to dig a little deeper into it’s history and in particular a unique product they publish for collectors. Penfolds winery is inextricably linked to the wine making history of Australia. It was established in 1844 and mainly made fortified wines through much of its early history. In 1951 Penfolds winemaker Max Schubert started experimental production of the Iconic Grange Hermitage. It was made in secret for the first few years and members of the Penfolds board of directors characterized it as tasting of crushed ants. He continued to make it in secret after he was told to cease making Grange. Eventually the wines were re-tasted and the true genius of Max Schubert was revealed. To many Australians and collectors around the world Grange ( as it now called) is the ultimate expression of Australian wine. Some might argue that it doesn’t express a sense of place as much as other single vineyard terroir driven wines from Australia , but to my mind it is undeniably OZ through and through. They also make a huge range of wines like RWT ( red wine trials), Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz ( often the source of the bulk of the fruit for Grange) Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz and a range of excellent whites from Adelaide Hills. They still make a lovely range of fortified wines , Club Port , Grandfather and Great Grandfather Port increasing in age and price. One of the things that sets Penfolds apart from many other wineries is it’s ability to be completely transparent when it comes to assessing wines in the portfolio going back many decades. Years ago they committed to a process of self examination and decided to publish the results in a document called The Rewards of Patience the 7th edition is available form Amazon here. The Rewards of Patience is a remarkable book. Penfolds has a vast library of older wines stored in properly and in very good condition. They hire a number of very good tasters/writers/wine professionals to taste, write notes and generally review all the wines they have made since inception. The notes are brutally honest and ( I think) accurately reflect the current condition of the wines. This a supremely comprehensive and doesn’t white wash the quality of the wines. If the wine is a dud they say so. Often wineries will omit notes on wines that show poorly . Not these guys, it’s all there. If you want some insight into how the Penfolds wines are progressing or advice on which ones to add to your cellar this is the premiere word on Penfolds. Thanks for your time. If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/. Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers David Lancelot
Since my last post was well received I thought I would give you some examples of wines I would recommend for outdoor drinking. My all time favorite outside patio BBQ drinking wine would be Turley Wine Cellars Old Vines Zinfandel from California. Founded by Dr Larry Turley and the first few vintages were made by renowned winemaker Helen Turley. My old employer was the first to bring this wine into Canada. At one point we had the largest retail allocation in the world. Currently they have a large quantity of the Turley 2015 Old Vines Zinfandel at $59.89 a bottle. My rule of thumb for drinking window on most Zinfandel is 5-7 years. That said I’m quite happy to drink this wine the day I bring it home. Black fruit , bramble and vanilla. Tons of rich dense fruit are packed in to this wine. If you have any tomato based BBQ sauce and ribs this is it. Call me anytime to drink this and I’ll be there. Bodega Garzon Single Vineyard Tannat from famed wine guru Alberto Antonini is available from New District Wines. This beauty is a beast ! From Uruguay Tannat is a dark inky red that will stain you teeth for a few days. Definitely for outside drinking as you don’t want to spill it on the carpet. Tannat is well known in France as the base wine for reds from Madiran. Dense and chewy and highly recommended with a nice piece of prime rib and chimichurri sauce. I find it impossible to argue with that suggestion. The next classic option is Shiraz/Syrah Cote Rotie is probably too fancy for BBQ but who am I to judge go for it if you have any that’s a bit on the younger end of the range. Save the old Guigal ones for later in the year. Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2015 for for 50$ is a wine that could make any evening on the patio stellar. Kalimna is the vineyard source for a large majority of grapes that end up in Penfolds Grange, one of the highest regarded reds in Australia with an unmatched track record. While this isn’t baby Grange you might think of it as a copy of a copy. Nice red and black fruit profile with a bit more savory notes than the first two wines. Drink or cellar for the next 4-8 years. So thaw out some critters, grind a bunch of peppercorns and throw them on the BBQ and break out the big guns. No wimpy wines.
Thanks for your time. If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers
During my time in the wine and food business I have been fortunate to try many 1000’s of wines and had the luxury of time to think about food and wine in a way that most people would not consider. One of my more recent topics that I think about and talk about daily on my wine tours is the concept of amplitude. A simple definition is the difference between the top of a peak on an oscilloscope and the bottom of the wave , in sound it would be the range of sound in a musical piece from the quietest to the loudest passage. It has an application in wine but I would like to explain it first as it relates to the playback of music. Lets assume you have a Bluetooth speaker connected to your phone and you are listening to it in your car or a small room in your home. Then you go and sit in your backyard or take it to the beach. You will likely have to increase the volume to hear it because the space is much bigger, there is ambient noise and maybe a breeze as well. I have started to explain to my guests when I take them out that wine behaves in much the same way. If you are in your office or dining room of your home and you are having a nice glass of Burgundy or Beaujolais you can enjoy its subtle characteristics . Take it to the backyard on a breezy afternoon and you might not taste anything at all. Why is that ? The answer is amplitude. More delicate wines can be easily overwhelmed by air movement outside. What happens when you can’t smell ? Taste becomes distorted and muted on the wines. So how does this relate to the average wine drinker ? Well my advice is save the Burgundy for inside and bring out the big guns for the backyard BBQ and camping. I call these wines big stupid wines for big stupid people and I’m one of them. Got a big rich Aussie Shiraz from Torbreck or Langmeil ? Bring it on. Zinfandel from Sonoma or Sierra Nevada foothills ? Outside in the summer is the time for that. Save those pretty wines for the fall or indoor drinking. Thanks for your time.
If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers
I have been involved in the food service and hospitality industry for almost 40 years. During that time I have been fortunate to complete a culinary program, hospitality training and many years of retail. My current main job is doing wine tours in the Kelowna area. Over this time I have been lucky enough to talk to many food service professionals and learn some tips on food and wine matching and what works and doesn’t work. It is a vast body of knowledge and can be hard to keep it all organized . There are a few books I recommend to use as reference when doing menus and creating a nice flow to a dinner. There are also a few principles I use to pull it all together.
Try to have a cohesive plan if you are going to open multiple bottles over the course of an evening. A thematic approach can work to hold it all together. IE all Burgundy or Tuscan wines. All from a single country or sometimes all the same grape Riesling anyone
Try to match food from a region with wine from the same region whenever possible. There is a reason why pasta works with Italian wine or why big Argentine reds work with beef. Regional wine and food concepts rarely develop separately from one and other. Regional recipes reflect the characteristics of the local wines because that’s the wines the have access to and see on a regular basis.
Look for a flavor echo or a complimentary flavor profile . IE match a high acid white with oysters as the acidity brightens the seafood much the same way squeezing lemon over it brings up the brinyness. An earthy red with long slow cooked dishes or anything mushroomy does the same thing.
I also use a number of reference books to do my home work ahead of time when assembling recipes and shopping for ingredients.
Cheese Primer by Steve Jenkins 1996. A very comprehensive look at the greatest cheeses from around the world. I can’t think of a dinner party theme that can’t be improved by the addition of very good cheese. I make a short list of cheeses I want and then go to Les Amis du Fromage or Benton Brothers and let them know what I need. If they don’t have it they are great lateral thinkers and will come up with a great substitute.
The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornberg 2008 LINK This isn’t so much a cookbook as it is a way to adjust and create recipes on the fly. Flavor = Taste + Mouthfeel + Aroma + “ The X Factor” the components of a great dish are what is perceived by the taste buds, what is perceived by the rest of the mouth, What is perceived by the nose and what’s perceived by the other senses plus the heart mind and spirit. These two geniuses get “it” , whatever it is. Lots of great ideas on flavor affinities and complimentary herbs and spices for almost any dish. Plus advice on the function of various dishes in a menu plan and the relative weight ( in flavor terms ) that each food can have. Outstanding.
Red Wine With Fish , The New Art of Matching Wine With Food 1989. This was the first book that really opened my eyes to the power of wine and food. Brilliant concepts on food and wine pairing , a section on the 10 greatest matches ever and some really groundbreaking thoughts on comparing and contrasting flavor styles in wine. Never reprinted so I have linked to the results page for Abebooks. ( You do know about Abebooks don’t you ? If you are a book lover this is a rabbit hole you might not ever crawl out of)
Spring is here, and that means warm weather is on the horizon. It’s an excellent time to inspect your WhisperKOOL cooling unit for damage or wear and have it repaired by a licensed HVAC technician if need be. Please see the information below (taken from our fourth-quarter 2017 newsletter) for more information on inspecting and performing routine cleaning and maintenance on your WhisperKOOL cooling unit.
Helpful Hints: Airflow
Airflow is of the utmost importance! The following hints will help ensure peak performance and longevity of your cooling unit:
Our self-contained units are designed to be mounted through the wall with a recommended clearance of 3-5 feet around the system (to avoid air recirculation).
Do not install the system in a cubby or corner or inside a wall cavity or cabinetry. This can cause an obstruction of airflow.
Grilles should NEVER be placed over a self-contained cooling unit.
Ducted systems should have soft sweeps and minimal bends. Ducts should be installed so that the supply and return air takes the shortest route possible to and from the cellar.
Ductwork should be properly insulated to prevent heat transfer. Condensing units should have 3-5 feet of unobstructed clearance in every direction (to avoid air recirculation).
Outdoor units should be placed in an area of mild to moderate temperatures. Watch a YouTube video about the WhisperKOOL SC Series by clicking here.
The evaporator and condenser coils for all through-the-wall systems must be cleaned quarterly. To clean the coils, simply vacuum the front and rear grilles or coils as shown above.
Through-the-wall Extreme units have washable filters covering the coils behind the grille areas. These filters must be cleaned quarterly.
All ducted units come with paper air filters which must be replaced quarterly. To order filters, call the WhisperKOOL customer service department at 1-800-343-9463.
Our 24-volt thermostat conversion option is now available on all Ceiling Mount, Quantum, and larger Platinum Split systems. The 24V option modifies typical WhisperKOOL unit controls. The standard keypad and bottle probe are removed and replaced with 24V wiring which may then be tied into a home thermostat of your choosing.
Note: The 24V option must be requested at the time of sale. It is not an aftermarket upgrade and cannot be added to an existing unit.
A wine collection can provide a great deal of pleasure over a long period of time. There are however some pitfalls to avoid that will make things work a bit better. Eventually 2 possible strategies emerge among cellar owners. A minor % only drink the best stuff from their cellars. And often drink the wines far too early. Another strategy often occurs in a higher % of owners. I call it culling the herd. Humans often like to defer gratification so they drink the “weakest “ wines first. Off vintages, bottles left behind after a party or gifts from clients/friends that don’t actually reflect our interests and goals for the cellar. Eventually you cull the herd so much you only have the Blue Chip Friday night specials left. Then a Monday night take out pizza comes along and you only have great Cote Rotie, Burgundy and Top notch California Cabernet Sauvignon. The goal of my post today is to give you a few wines that are the equivalent of the sacrificial anode in a hot water tank. These are excellent wines that you can drink while waiting for the Good Stuff to be ready to roll. Cotes Du Rhone Villages Plan De Dieu Meffre St Palalis 169797 15.99 “This well made red shows a floral lift to the plum, cassis and blackberry fruit flavours. The palate is full of dark fruit and the fresh finish lets a mineral note chime through.” Layers Red Peter Lehmann Barossa 200261 16.99 “ Expect luscious purple fruit, chocolate mint wafers, vanilla, licorice, violets, cedar and baking spices¿It’s well balanced with juicy acidity to give it lift and nice length across the finish. 90 points – WineScores.ca, Nov 2013” A lovely blend of Shiraz, Tempranillo,Mourvedre and Grenache. As an aside if you don’t like Grenache or you aren’t willing to at least try it we can’t be friends.
La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2016 30.99 366948 Consistently crafted Chardonnay with all the richness you expect from California Chardonnay, round and creamy with a fresh baked bread aromatic structure. Prototype US Chardonnay.
I have had some spare time lately and decided to go back and watch a few wine and food related films. This has been a fun way to armchair travel the world of wine and stretch my brain at the same time. So I figured why not share my favorites with you ? Ultimately wine is about taste but what adds to the context is the people and the place. Also understanding the back story about a particular practice or ritual in wine can create a deeper understanding of the forces at work that create a wine culture . All types of wine are needed for a wine culture to survive from basic vin de table to super collectible wines. Here is my top three list of favorite wine films: Mondovino This documentary was released in 2004 and is a snapshot into impending globalization of wine and some of the possible consequences . There is a discussion of generational changes in wine making that touch on the transition in Hubert Montille’s winery and the shifting public taste in wine from Volnay and the role that gender plays in succession. Hubert passed away ten years later. There is a section focused on Michelle Rolland that focuses on his influence in wine making around the world and the Parkerization of wine. Also an interview with the Mondavi family and their planned expansion into France and what that might mean. A portion of the film spends some time with Robert Parker. There is a hilarious scene with his dog that I’m not going to spoil. A lot has happened in the time between the films release and now so it’s interesting to see what they got right and what has happened to a number of these pivotal players in the wine world. Somm There are two major wine qualifications available for people who are interested in a non-production related carreer . Master of Wine or Master Sommelier . This movie follows 4 industry professionals along the path towards the Master Sommelier Exam and the mentorship provided by some notable Icons of the wine world most notably a gentleman named Fred Dame . Fred was the first non European to lead the Court of Master Sommeliers and the first person to pass all three parts of the Master Sommelier exam in a single year . There is a fine line between competency , deep knowledge and obsession and these 4 candidates cross the line back and forth many times. By the end you are vested in the experience and interested in the outcome. Not what you expect. And the description of a wine smelling like a tin off freshly opened tennis balls is cringe worthy and hilarious all in one. About this time you are probably wondering if I’m going to write about Sideways. Well I’m not I’m going to go farther back and reference a piece of fiction. Babettes Feast From Amazon.ca “ Released in 1987, Babette’s Feast is a film which depicts so little, yet says so much. Set in a rural Danish community, it centres around the twin sisters of
the village pastor and the French women who serves them after fleeing the 1871 revolution. On winning the lottery she plans a feast to mark the centenary of the sisters’ father, bringing a dimension of fine living into the lives of the God-fearing Lutherans and healing festering personal animosities in the process. “ I love this film in it’s spare quiet delivery and the meaning of sharing food and wine and the deeper symbolism of what it means to cook for people. It’s also about the ability of food to bridge the gaps of social division . Cooking and sharing a meal is not just about fuel for your body ( although it can be) It’s also an expression of caring and love for your fellow humans. This film shows how much emotion and gratefulness can be expressed simply by the attention you pay your food and it’s presentation. Lovely sentiment and a restrained message. Thanks for your time. If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers David Lancelot