WINE (&FOOD) OF THE WEEK #115
Ready for some more food-talk?
The main course of our fantastic evening amongst food and wine lovers and bloggers was absolutely a masterpiece.
Pieter from Culinarty.be had prepared a complex dish with Peking duck or “Canard laqué” as the main ingrediënt. What makes the duck so complex is the top layer of spices, honey, pepper and salt.
Next to the duck were incredibly delicious polenta cakes (with Italian herbs and parmeggiano added to the polenta), a fantastic puree of beetroot, green asparagus and turnip rolls.
At first, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the flavors and I had no clue wine wise. A little deconstruction of the dish helped me out:
- obviously, we cannot go around the duck. A lovely peace of meat : tender, juicy and fine. I could pair a lot of delicate wines with low tannins with the duck, like a nice pinot noir, a Beaujolais cru, or maybe even an earthy Barbera. But, the spicy honey cover makes it a lot more difficult. A stronger body, maybe some residual sugar, and especially a herbal wine are needed. An older wine from the Douro region immediately came to mind, because of the typical sweet ginger bread flavors that I like so much.
- the baked polenta with parmeggiano adds structure and body to the dish, making it again more difficult for a fragile wine to pair with the dish. Pinot noir isn’t an option anymore
- last but not least, we have a lot of earthy flavors : beetroot, turnip and asparagus. So I tend to look for stinky wines, earthy, and probably old world.
I stumbled in my wine collection on 2 wines that would match the dish in my opinion:
The first wine is cuvée Les Perruches 2009 from Pascal Lambert, a biodynamic wine maker in Chinon, Loire, France.
This 100% cabernet franc wine is very old world, with some menthol, herbs and licorice, combined with an undeniable elegance and acidity. The fresh cherry and “green” notes of cabernet franc are a very fun match with the pepper and sweet notes of the duck. This wine made our table very silent, and I would score this wine certainly a gold medal!
The second choice is Duorum 2010 from the Douro Valley, a red blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz.
This wine also showed a combination of red fruit, licorice and some nice minerality. The wine was juicy, herbal and very enjoyable, but the style bothered me a bit. As a result of a new and modern wine making project in Portugal, the wine tasted very much like a new world wine. The dish however, asked for something more old and rustic.
So, love the wine, but I am going for a silver medal.
Again, this one was a very difficult and tough choice,
and I would like to know from you what wine you would pair with peking duck, permesan polenta cakes and beetroot/turnips/asparagus.
Thx for leaving a comment,
WINE OF THE WEEK #096
Great news, I just got married!
To celebrate the ring around my finger, I’ve opened a rather special wine for you today.
It’s a wine from the Tissot winery in the Jura region in France, AOC Arbois - Chardonnay 2010.
Tissot is a legend amongst wine nerds, because they make all their wines in a natural way and have a very wide range of wines : from whites and reds to the typical “vin jaune” wines. Vin Jaunes are oxidated, funky and strong white wines that are the guilty pleasure with all kind of cheeses. If you’ve never tried it, just buy yourself a bottle of vin jaune and a box of cheeses and lock yourself into your room for a day .. or two.
To me, if somebody says “Jura”, I always think of cheese, and hippies. Not all the wines are as funky as a vin jaune, but there is always something very special happening. Wine love is always in the air, and the region so far remains untouched by marketing, money and business. That means that Jura wines are not very present on the market, but this “underground” position leaves a lot of liberty for the wine makers, and most of the time, the experiments pay off.
There are only 8000 bottles made from this wine, grown on clay and limestone soils. Grapes are grown biodynamically, they are all handpicked and the wine has not been touched during fermentation and the aging process. So, it should be as pure as it can be, but due to the low yields, I’m afraid the wine is still too young and will be overpowered by the acidity. I’ve heard it’s better to keep this wine for a year or 10 before drinking.
But there’s only one way to find out…
The wine looks like a normal wine, but with 3 drops of orange in it. I love the bronze shades, and the clean look.
As I expected, the nose on this wine is very unique.
Think of ripe apples, date (the fruit) and orange blossom.
It also shows some smokey flavors, like a very soft whiskey.
I’ve got the feeling the mouthfeel is a little off. I don’t know why, but the flavors are not “fresh”. I can taste everything there was on the nose, but it feels like there is some fish skin involved… and that’s not what I like.
If I look at the wine from a rational point of view, I think the wine has great balance, and is very fun to drink. Acidity and alcohol are very well measured.
Strangely enough, the wine shows a lot of herbs on the finish. Especially oregano, and it’s a very complex animal.
I think I might just have had a “bad” bottle (or the wine is going through a “non-drinkable” phase) because there are some notes that I find really out of place, but all in all, I am very intrigued by the complexity of the Arbois and I am sure that this is the wine to serve when you have a cheese plate. The herbs, the smoked flavors, the dried fruit. That should be a home run with a slice of manchego.
As a wine nerd, I am going for silver, but as a consumer, I’m not happy that the wine merchant did not tell me this wine is too young to drink.
WINE OF THE WEEK #095
let’s just cut the crap about Chardonnay. If there is one place on earth where you will find the best glass of Chardonnay, then it must be Burgundy.
Burgundy includes more ‘affordable’ regions like Chablis or Macon, but there are also AOC’s like Puligny-Montrachet or Chassagne-Montrachet where prices can go up a notch or 2.. or 3 … or 10…
Today, I hope I’ve found a wine that has the soul of a good white Burgundy, without the price tag.
It’s the 2010 AOC Bourgogne from Domaine Vincent-Dureuil-Janthial for €15,95.
The Dureuil-Janthial family is rather famous amongst their neighbors, because they have been making wine for centuries, and more recently switched their vineyards towards organic wine growing. A way of approaching wine making that we see more and more in Burgundy. And that’s a good thing!
What is bad about Burgundy is the complexity of the region. Every slope on a hill, or every piece of land is divided into a multitude of parcels and AOC’s. A normal winery, like Dureuil-Janthial makes wines in 20 different AOC’s. So it’s difficult to sketch a general picture.
But, the sheet of this wine tells me that the grapes are from 40 year old vines in a small plot ( called “La Combe” ) within the Puligny-Montrachet area!! It just does not hold the AOC of Puligny-Montrachet because that’s a privilege for only the best plots in the area.
That’s why the AOC of this wine is ‘only’ “AOC Bourgogne”
The typical soil for Puligny-Montrachet is clay and limestone. Or from a flavor perspective : something greasy and something fresh.
Let’s see if I’m right!
The wine looks like white wine, no tones towards pale yellow or amber. It’s just a nice straw yellow…until you start swirling around. The wine becomes heavier, legs are forming and you can just see that there will be a lot of flavor and material.
That’s what I like!
Yes, it’s got that Burgundy pedigree!
The typical yellow fruit punch of citrus, pineapple and yellow apples is surrounded by something I call “Burgundy fat”.
I can describe “Burgundy fat” in 2 ways:
- Marinated honey. Imagine you take the marinade of a nice BBQ steak and just add a lot of honey. Instead of the “bitterness” of the spices (laurel, thyme, …) you get the same rich smell, but sweeter and softer.
- White resin. Resin can smell very “orange” to me. Just take out that woody smell, and you get something I would call “white resin”.
As the appearance predicted, this wine is solid.
You can chew on it, bite it, slurp on it or just drink it, it will not fall apart.
Everything I want is here. The fruit on the nose is given a nice punch of acidity so you get a lot of fresh flavors.
The more heavy note, or Burgundy Fat, gives the mouthfeel a nice cushion with soft herbs.
And if that was not enough, there is a nice minerality as well. Just a hint of magic dust is left behind on your tongue after you’ve taken a sip.
The wine is at it’s best in your mouth. There is not a big evolution going on, the more greasy aspects just take over and the wine slowly fades out. It would be an epic bottle if the finish could have shown an extra surprise, but I am just getting way too picky here.
This wine is fantastic. It comes at a price, but is a wonderful example of what Chardonnay can bring to your glass.
BORDEAUX - A new direction?
it’s a shame that my mission as an ambassador for Bordeaux wines this year has come to an end. With 2 trips to the region and a lot of tastings and events under the belt, I got a better idea about where Bordeaux is standing, and where it may surprise you in the future.
So let me share you my thoughts after a fantastic year:
1. Forget about China and the cru classé wines.
When people write about Bordeaux wines, or find movies on youtube, they always talk about chinese investors buying up “all” the wines and about how “expensive” Bordeaux wines are. That’s just silly.
What they really talk about is 3% of the wines produced in Bordeaux. I just look at those 3% as something else. It has everything to do with money, and nothing to do with wine. To me, they could be selling perfume or cars just as well. These top 3% is not a product of nature, it’s a currency.
Just check out this video!
2. Dare to buy a Bordeaux wine
To discover “the other 97%” of Bordeaux wines, I encourage you for once to go to your wine shop with a €10 bill and ask for a Bordeaux wine from an AOC or subregion you don’t know.
I hear you saying : “Why would I do that?!”
Well, there are so many unknown AOC’s in Bordeaux where really good wines are made. And unknown often means affordable and in Bordeaux, and interesting at the same time. It makes no sense to buy a €30 AOC Margaux, when you can buy a super delicious €12 AOC Sainte-Foy de Bordeaux. But I guess you’ll never have heard of Sainte-Foy de Bordeaux. So, just try it for once and tell me what you think.
3. Pink & White
If you want to take less risks but still discover something new, a rosé or clairet wine from Bordeaux is always a good call. I really appreciate the acidity and structure of the rosé and clairet wines. They are very food friendly and never tiring.
And I you want to fall in love, just try a white Bordeaux.
Entre-Deux-Mers whites are a very nice alternative (with a bit more body) than new world Sauvignon Blanc wines, and white wines from Graves or Pessac-Leognan are just epic. No kidding.
They’ve got herbal, flowery flavors, white fruit juice and if the oak aging was done in a controlled way, the most complex mouthfeel and finish. And you should be able to get a great bottle for under €20.
If I had a good cellar, I’d fill it up with white Bordeaux.
I am really curious about your image of Bordeaux, and how it has changed over the last year and maybe after reading my posts. So let me know what you think!
I hope to see you soon!
WINE OF THE WEEK #089
Hi there wine lovers,
I haven’t found the time during the week to write my first supermarket review, but as it is friday night, I just felt like taking a sip.
So to start this theme, I went to Colruyt and picked up this bottle :
Terra Sana, 2010 Syrah from François Lurton - Vin de Pays d’Oc
First of all, let’s talk about Colruyt.
I heard a lot of great stuff about their wine selections and I know that they invest a lot in research and prospection, but I’ve got to say that I was rather disappointed in the options I had. I felt like I had to pick either a rather boring and expensive bottle of french red wine out of a wooden box, or that I had to pick a new world red/white wine that was very low priced. I think there is a large gap to fill here, namely : affordable wine from France, Spain or Italy. And that’s exactly why I think this wine is interesting.
My strategy for this supermarket wine shopping is simple. Get as much wine for your dollar, or euro (€6 to be precise) in my case.
So, what made me pick this bottle amongst the 100 other choices?
- It has a screw cap. If you are not planning to keep your wine in the cellar for 3+ years, you don’t need a wine with a cork. A screw cap does just the trick and is less expensive.
- It comes from France, a wine region nearby. The fact that the cheapest wines in the supermarket are from Australia or Argentina really makes no sense at all, unless they are pulling a trick on you.
- The AOC is Vin de Pays d’Oc : A region that produces constant quality where there are not that many rules to follow, so the wine makers do not have to invest in a lot of equipment to follow the prescriptions of the AOC.
- The label looks great and it mentions that the grapes are “organic” and it also has the AB label (Agriculture Biologique) The “TERRA SANA” series from François Lurton all have these characteristics.
- And last but not least, it has been a while since I last drunk a syrah, so why miss this excellent opportunity.
I’ve got nothing more to add, so let’s dive in!
The wine is dark purple, like we would expect from a syrah. It looks like it has a good density (always something I look at when I buy an unexpensive wine) and so I am convinced that I am going to smell something
Right, I really forgot how a fruity syrah smelled like.
It smells like black fruit caramel. Imagine heating up a bunch of blackberries, violets and brown sugar in a bowl and just add some twigs in the end.
I do have to say that the nose lacks energy and depth. The dark sauce aspects just feel a bit lazy.
That’s weird…I don’t feel any tannins.
I .. euh … what shall I write?
The wine tastes like a blend of red wine and thick fruit juice. I am missing influences from soil or climate, I lack some kind of “next level”, something to chew on, something dusty, some texture.
Overall, their is nothing wrong going on, but that’s not enough.
I’ve got the same remark on the finish. Although I taste some licorice and brown sugar, I really believe this is a simplified version of wine.
So, my conclusion is simple. This is a wine without a soul, without energy and without a heart. A wine that I will never fall in love with.
WINE OF THE WEEK #078
Hi girls & guys,
let’s taste another wine from the Loire valley!
Today we are going to taste a wine from Chinon, an AOC in the center of the Loire valley : WILFRID ROUSSE - AOC Chinon - Clos de la roche 2008
The reason I picked this wine goes way back in time.
One of the first people that showed me that wine could be fun, enjoyable, interesting and worth talking and writing about, was Gary Vaynerchuck. I started watching his WLTV shows in 2010 and eventually I bought my first wine to be featured on my blog on christmas in 2010.
What I can remember like it was yesterday was his neverending stories about the value of Chinon, a hidden gem in the rich wine history of France. It was clear to me that I had to try a Chinon once, because that’s exacty what I’m looking for : value for money.
The style of Chinon is all about freshness and expression, not about age and muscle. That’s exactly why the wine is very popular locally and thus it never gets into the cellars of big collectors, meaning low attention on the international market.
This wine is a good example of Chinon. It’s made 100% from Cabernet Franc grapes, on a south facing slope consisting of limestone and tuffeau : a sub-soil of old sea sediments (chalky but with higher porosity), used to build most of the old local houses and wineries. This is actually very beautiful when you drive (or bike) across the region.
The Clos de la Roche is from the best vineyard of the domaine of Wilfrid Rousse, with vines planted in 1950. The wine is aged in oak, but in old 600l barrels, called “demi-nuits”. The bigger the barrel, the less contact between the juice and oak, so the typical oaky flavours will probably not come through.
I could talk alot more about Chinon, but I bought this wine to taste!
Let’s just open it up and go!
It’s cherry! Nothing rustic or brown about it, just a nice and vivid cherry red.
I got a very interesting experience at my first sniff, I smelled an italian wine, and if I had to guess: “Barbera”.
The wine does not only have a cherry colour, but also a cherry nose, together with violets.
But sniff again, and you’ll know it’s not Barbera.
The nose is a lot more funky if you give it some time :
I smell bell peppers with caramel, oregano and white pepper, and menthol (bloggers @vickywine and @thewinesleuth learned me picking up menthol) and I can assure you there are some animals running around as well. Can’t tell you if it’s a dog, a pig or a sheep. But this wine is definitely not ‘urban’, if you know what I mean.
Really liking it!
This wine hits 2 of my weakest spots at the same time:
1. Balance and softness. What I want from a red wine is it to be soft and velvety, and at the same time show nice freshness to develop extra flavours. This wine does an absolutely perfect job.
2. If point 1 is a fact, then I start hoping for part 2. Maybe it’s because of the old vines, maybe just good wine making, but I am so happy if I taste terroir. There is a link that you can really taste, I mean it, between the herbs and spices (pepper), tasty tannins and delicious fruit. Tasting that link, or terroir, makes it possible to close your eyes and teleport yourself to a place that fulfills your imagination.
That is wine at its best.
On the finish, and it is starting to get really funky now, I taste a church. Wax from the candles, a wooden floor, the herbs from the rituals, a cool climate and a sense of history.
I will have to be honest after this rather glorious review.
Yesterday I opened the bottle during dinner and I thought it was ok, but I struggled to understand what the wine was trying to tell me. I put the bottle in the fridge at night and this morning at 10am I put it on the table again. Now, at 11am in the morning, with my tasting buds all fired up, the wine at probably 16°C and home alone, I feel and taste so much more and the wine just blows my mind.
And maybe that’s my only remark. This wine needs and intimate moment because it is so delicate and breakable, yet so powerful when you taste it in the right conditions. So my advice is, be careful, but go out and try it!!! Wow. (To give you an idea, this wine was €12 at the Vitiloire wine fair.)