Just Another Malbec Monday: Fabre.Montmayou🍷

When you’re learning about wine, part of the journey is the wine lexicon: flavour/aroma characteristics, nose, palate and so on. Before my WSET Level 2 wine course begins in a few weeks,  I took a peek at the wine tasting ‘cheat sheet’ that distills the various descriptions and classifications of characteristics of wine. It’s incredibly helpful since I don’t always feel confident yet in how sophisticated my palate is, much less how I describe wine.

This week’s pick: a 2013 Fabre.Montmayou Reserva. From the first pour, I noticed a bouquet of dark cherry. The colour was clear with a ruby vibe, with a light viscosity after the swirl. Flavours were of stewed plum, liqourice, and light tobacco. Any spice I tasted became more prevalent after I paired it with a salty, light cheese. I thought I tasted cinnamon but it was savory, not sweet (the cheat sheet describes it as ‘pungent’) so I’ll go with it. 😄 It seemed to me to have medium tannin, meaning that it didn’t make my mouth feel too dry, not as dry as, say,  a Cab Sauv.

This was a very pleasurable wine that would pair well with cheese, grilled meats or poultry. Retailing for below $20, it would be a great wine to bring as your +1 to a dinner party or barbecue.

It’s been said by many a sommelier, the more you drink wine, the better your palate will become. I think in the next few months (of studying, of course!) mine should eventually earn an A+. 😉

Ah well… it’s just another Malbec Monday!

Cheers!

©TheWineStudent, 2017

Laissez les bons temps rouler! 💜💛💚

What would you do for Mardi Gras beads? I stuck to tradition. No, I didn’t flash anyone; I focused on traditional food and drink. HubbyDoug and I had a great debate over what to eat: I thought Jumbalaya, he favored pancakes and sausage. A compromise was struck: Jumbalaya, with pancakes on the side. 

But the traditional Mardi Gras drink doesn’t involve wine. I puzzled over how to add wine to the Hurricane recipe I found. Do I find a fruity wine to mimic the sweetness of the drink? 🤔 With a little research I found Rhumbero, a wine-based rum substitute. It tastes just like rum, and can be used in most recipes that call for light rum. An interesting feature, other than how wine can taste like rum, is that it makes it possible for locations with limited licences (beer and wine only) to legally offer cocktails.            I can report it tasted wonderful in my Hurricane! 

Today, I earned my beads… and my honour remained intact, which is always good. I wonder how HubbyDoug will earn his??!

However you choose to celebrate, enjoy responsibly, and let the good times roll!

Cheers! 

Malbec Monday! 🍷

So, Monday. We meet again. But like that spoonful of sugar, a glassful of Malbec will help the rest of the week go down… a bit easier.

This week’s pick is a 2012 Domain Bousquet Reserve Malbec. Located in the Andean foothills of Argentina, this vineyard is cultivated at an altitude of 1,200 meters (4,000 ft) above sea level; one of the higher altitude vineyards notonly  in Mendoza, but in the world. Since there is a low amount of rainfall at this height, a drip irrigation system is used allowing better hydration control, and producing grapes with a lower PH resulting in a more balanced, deep colour wine.

Made with organic grapes ~ 85% Malbec, 5% Cab Sauv, 5%Merlot, and 5% Syrah, the nose was very lush with a pronounced fruit forward vibe of black currant preserves. It felt more tannic than acidic on the tongue. Once the  wine had a little time to open, it developed a slight bitter almond taste that was quite pleasant as well as an interesting espresso-tobacco-hazelnut quality when paired with room temperature Brie.

I enjoyed this wine but couldn’t help think that a little more decanting would bring out much more of its depth.

Still, not a bad way at all to kiss the first day of the work week goodbye.

Cheers! 🍷

©TheWineStudent, 2017

Just Another Malbec Monday! 🍷

It’s the start of the week and a little motivation is needed. So I’ve added a new feature to The Wine Student: Malbec Mondays. It’s my way to help you ease back into that work week.

For this inaugural post, I chose a 2013 Elqui Wines Malbec blend. While Argentina is most noted  for its beautiful Malbec, the Elqui Valley in Chile produces  wonderful offerings that are fruit forward, earthy,  while retaining a pleasing silky mouthfeel. With 52% Syrah, and 37% Carménère and 11% Malbec this wine is a multi-faceted intro to some intriguing Chilean wine. It pairs well with sweet, spicy and barbeque dishes. Not a bad way to begin a week, eh?

So you may not be stoked by having to be back to work. That’s ok. The real fun can begin when you sign out for the day, get home and slip into something more comfortable.

And after a few sips, you’ll be glad it’s just another Malbec Monday. 😉

Cheers!

©TheWineStudent, 2017

A Noble Steed, and the Fireside Pizza 🔥

Is it the Riesling, or is it still National Pizza  Day? I guess it doesn’t matter since  I’m enjoying both either way.

My research today led me to a chart about pizza and wine pairings. One of the more intriguing was Riesling and Hawaiian pizza; the key element being img_9508pineapple. I’ve never been a fan of pineapple on pizza. Ever. But for the sake of furthering my wine pairing education…

As it so happened, we had a nice 2012  Firesteed Riesling in our collection, and chilling in our fridge (so handy!) and looking on the menu at our local PizzaFire   I found a Za that looked pretty interesting: Free range chicken, red onion, barbeque sauce, and yes, pineapple.

The wine was a lovely, light offering; tasting of tart lemon zest, green, fresh fiddlehead, with just a whisper of white pepper. It paired so nicely with the sweet of the pineapple, and cut a swath through the tang of the barbeque. It really was an unexpected treat. The lack of floral and sweetness in this case worked to enhance the savoury tang of the pizza. Nice!

Whether you observe Pizza Day or not, it’s always good to find new ways to enjoy wine with everyday dining.

Cheers!

©TheWineStudent, 2017

My Own Private Ice Wine Festival 🌬🍷😄

 

snapseed-4If I can’t make it to the Niagara Ice Wine Festival, I’ll make the Ice Wine Festival come to me!

And as luck would have it, I happened to have bottles from two great wine regions; Niagara and North East Ohio. While it won’t be on a grand scale, it’ll be sweet. Literally.

For the occasion, and completely ripping off their idea, I got creative and made my own marshmallows to toast. So there goes my new year’s resolution to limit sugar, at least for today.

Today’s featured wines are a 2010 Colaneri Profundo Aumento Chenin Blanc from Niagara and 2010 Ferrante Cab Franc from Geneva, Ohio. The  2010 vintage led me to wonder if maybe they were past their prime. Like many wines, ice wine can be cellared for many years, and because of the high residual sugars and acidity it would store well. But you won’t really know until it’s opened: if it smells like vinegar or sherry, it’s spoiled.
Being the brave student that I am, I’ll push on and try them. All in the pursuit of knowledge.

According to the Canadian Vintners Association, Canada is the world’s largest producer of ice wine. In 2015, Icewine made up 25% of the total export value ($18,623,057) and 0.3% of export volume ~ 234,604 litres). Ontario is Canada’s largest exporter valued at $15.6 million.
With similar weather patterns and temperatures to Ontario, Ohio is gaining steady ground with ice wine production. Its upcoming Ice Wine Festival in March will prove to be a great celebration of their hard work.

Ice wine is a sweet dessert wine produced from grapes that are left out on the vine to freeze. Hand harvested in sub-zero temperatures (usually before sunrise when temperatures remain consistent and its coldest~ brrrrrrrrr!) the grapes are pressed outside to maintain the consistent temperature and high sugar content of the grapes. You can read more detail about it here.
The homemade mallows were ready, and I thought I’d add to the pairing some Ghirardelli snapseed-5chocolate, fruit, and a little Brie as a savory contrast. And as an added treat, our friend, Shelly brought a bottle she’d bought back on our trip to Niagara a couple of years ago, a 2010 Pilliteri Estates Cab Franc Icewine. More yum! It tasted

like the most decadent honey, with a kick. Curiously, neither HubbyDoug nor Shelly shared my enthusiasm for sampling outside. Wah. So the kitchen served as a warmer venue.

It was great to sample ice wines from both sides of the border. Each one had its own unique vibe that made them very special.

I know I’ll get to the Niagara Ice Wine Festival again, and I’m looking forward to the Ohio Ice Wine Festival in March.  Both are a great celebration of not only the wine itself but of the winemakers who struggle against all odds to create and perfect this wonderful wine.

Cheers!

©TheWineStudent, 2017

My homemade marshmallows!

My homemade marshmallows!

Happy Australia Day!🇦🇺

img_9265

G’Day M8’s!

I’m sure any one from Australia who reads that will be about as happy as a Canadian who hears, “EH???” or “oot an aboot”. But since it is #AustraliaDay, I am here to celebrate and enjoy a blend I found while out and about hunting for an Aussie wine. The 2011 Schild Estate Old Bush Vine GMS (Grenache, Mourvèdre, Shiraz) was a vintage I wasn’t familiar with, but the Aussie spirit is one of adventure so I scooped it up.

But first a little background one of the grapes and the growing region of Barossa. Most of you are pretty familiar with Shiraz and I’ve written about Grenache in a previous post, so I’ll focus today’s study hall on Mourvèdre grape, and what is an old bush vine. But please be careful if you Google ‘old bush’. In fact, I’ll save you the trouble, don’t Google it at all. Trust me.

The Mourvèdre grape is a tough little contender, and some of the oldest vines in the world are located down under in Australia. Thick-skinned and drought tolerant, it can do very well in hot growing regions and ripens late in the growing season. That makes it a perfect grape for the Barossa appellation (growing region) of South Australia. Barossa is one of six wine producing zones, with two specific regions: the Barossa Valley and the Eden Valley. The Barossa Valley has moderate elevated areas with flat valley floors that succumb to very hot summers with temperatures hitting over 95F (30C). Rainfall is modest and with sparse natural water in the soil, irrigation is critical, even though many varietals can sustain and produce amazingly complex wines in drought conditions. While its main varietal is Shiraz, Barossa is home to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Semillion and Voignier. Grenache and Mourvèdre thrive and blend well with Shiraz. If you’ve enjoyed Châteneuf De Pape, you’ve enjoyed this blend.

Barossa old vines are protected under the Barossa Old Vine Charter, instituted to register vineyards by age, ensuring that older, beautifully gnarled vines are preserved, retained and protected from being destroyed.

  • Barossa Old Vine ~ => 35 years. The root structure and trunk thickness are very well established, encouraging increased character and diversity of flavor.
  • Barossa Survivor Vine ~ => 70 yrs. These vines have weathered very tough storms and are a tribute to the growers and winemakers who prize structure and quality of old vines.
  • Barossa Centenarian Vine ~ => 100 years. These vines are resistant to phylloxera, allowing vines to mature into their stunning, gnarled sculpture. They have a lower yield but intense flavor,and are cultivated using dry farming techniques.
  • Barossa Ancestor Vine ~ => 125+ years. This is the great, great grandaddy of them all. These vines have been standing loud and proud and are a living tribute to Barossa’s earliest European settlers. The old stocks are the buttress of this wine region, and are some of the oldest producing vines in the world, are dry grown, have low yield but very high intensity in flavor.

What’s an old bush, you ask? It’s any parcel of land in Australia that’s undeveloped or close to the forest or desert.

So how did this wine taste? The nose had a lovely, bright floral vibe with notes of violet. It had a medium mouthfeel and tasted of plum, blackberry compote, rich, Luxardo maraschino cherry, with hints of leather and tobacco on the finish.

Some wines tend to need to sit a while to get their groove on, this one seemed more old world in style; the first sip tasted as good as the last.

Proof positive that things really do get better with age.

Cheers!

©TheWineStudent, 2017