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VOLUME 3, ISSUE 4 ...FROM VINEYARD TO VINTAGE... DECEMBER 2O07 INSIDE THIS ISSUE: THIRST Extravagant Bottles MOËT & CHANDON DOM PERIGNON CUVEE 1999 (CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE) 96 Points from Wine Advocate Magazine Fine, continuous mousse previews a clean fresh nose with citrus, cherry, and creamy, nutty aromas. The wine is dry, elegant, crisp, and full-bodied on the palate hinting at baked green apple, nuts, and lemon peel streaked with floral, mineral, and pear skin notes. The finish is long, elegant and crisp with abundant finesse. $209.99 DON MELCHOR CABERNET SAUVIGNON VINTAGE FLIGHTS (MAIPO VALLEY, CHILE) SixVintages in a Six-Bottle Wooden Case: 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1995, 1996, 1997 What a fascinating collection of older vintage from the most famous Cabernet Sauvignon producer in South America! Don Melchor is a consistently highly regarded wine which is enticingly complex, passionately full bodied, and meticulously well-balanced. These bottles are sold as a set of six and carefully crated in a wooden collector’s case. $499.99 per case DON MELCHOR CABERNET SAUVIGNON 1.5 LITRE BOTTLES (MAIPO VALLEY, CHILE) 2003 Vintage rated 96 Points by Wine Spectator Magazine 2000 Vintage rated 94 Points by Wine Spectator Magazine Harmonious, generous, and elegant with notes of black currant, melted blackberry and blueberry jams, and secondary aromas of cedar, tobacco, chocolate and spice. Enticing from beginning to gorgeous, lingering end. Each bottle comes in its own wooden case. $199.99 1.5 litres THIRST 1 DELIBERATE EXTRAVAGANCE 2 MAKING PERFECT TURKEY GRAVY 3 CALENDAR OF WINE EVENTS 4 New and Noteworthy Wines BURGE FAMILY DRY GROWN GARNACHA 2004 (BAROSSA VALLEY, AUSTRALIA) Highly recommended by Louie and Damian at Bravo Restaurant & Lounge Each year these 80plus-year-old vines produce crops of exceptional quality and varietal character. Spice and sweet berry fruit combine with a fine tannin backbone resulting in great palate structure adorned with bright and vibrant flavours of raspberry, anise seed, and dry chocolate. $54.99 GLAETZER ‘WALLACE’ SHIRAZ GRENACHE 2006 (BAROSSA VALLEY, AUSTRALIA) This younger brother of the Glaetzer Amon-Ra, Godolphin, and Bishop is by no means little! A fusion of 70% rich, peppery old vine Shiraz and 30% fruit forward, elegant Grenache explodes in the glass with juicy berry, spicy cherry, and toffee flavours and aromas. $35.99 DESERT HILLS PINOT GRIS 2006 (OLIVER, B RITISH COLUMBIA) A lush and lavish wine with apples, oranges, pears, and pineapple on the nose and hints of licorice and butterscotch on the palate and in the finish. This is a mouthwatering Pinot Gris that just gives and gives and then begs you for some food to go with it. $23.49 DESERT HILLS GAMAY NOIR 2006 (OLIVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA) 86 Points from Anthony Gismondi This wine is big and brawny with plenty of black cherry, licorice, and vanilla aromas flecked with cracked pepper and spice. The entry is soft and fruity with more spicy black cherry, coffee-mocha, and earthy mineral flavours. An exceptional local pairing for Christmas turkey! $21.49 WHATCOM WINE & SPIRITS 36035 North Parallel Road Abbotsford, B.C. Ph. 604-870-6166 Fx. 604-870-6168 whatcomwineandspirits.com ...FROM VINEYARD TO VINTAGE... Page 2 DELIBERATE EXTRAVAGANCE by Rose Siemens The Christmas Season is here again, and with it comes the chance for the child within each of us to emerge and embrace the joy and wonder of the holiday season. Spectacular light displays, towering Christmas trees, mysterious packages, and family feasts… all of these things are more exciting on a grand scale. Of course, bigger isn’t necessarily always better in everything, but sometimes a show of extravagance is rather nice. It would be easy to ask you to drop a little more money on a bottle of wine this Christmas, but why should anyone do such a thing without some understanding? Impressing others with price tags is not as important as ensuring that what is in the glass is ultimately enjoyable. So what I do ask you to do is this: purchase good wine. And what is good wine? Well, that definition is subjective and is waiting on your palate, but when you already know what you like it is not a huge leap of faith to try something along those same lines that is just a little bit better. Is a more expensive bottle of wine always a better bottle of wine? Let me answer that with another question: what is it that you are paying for? Paying for a reputable name on the label is usually a valid reason to pay a little more for a bottle of wine. These wineries, winemakers, vineyards, and regions did not acquire a solid reputation without consistency and effort, nor would they maintain a worthwhile reputation without the same constancy and achievement that is expected of them. However, be careful about what you are buying. Many large and well known producers have a hierarchy of sorts within their wine lineup. They may have their entry-level-priced product which is a blend of juice from just about anywhere and whose quality is alright but not great, through to a few middle-ranged wines of moderate and graduating prices and superiority of product, right up to their top-of-the-line wines which are diligently handcrafted in small batches from designated vineyards and barrels. These wines are likely the ones the wineries have earned their reputations on, so what I am saying is that just because a wine carries the name of a reputable winery, this does not automatically make it fantastic. You need to be aware of what you are buying. The more hands-on care that goes into a bottle of wine the higher the price is likely to be, but it is worth it. Look for vineyard designations, vintage years, and read the back label if you are not sure. I find that finding and buying a hard-to-find bottle of wine is also worthwhile because there is something to be said for being the only one with that coveted vintage of something that is truly amazing. You can expect to pay a little more for something rare. In the company of your true wine-loving friends, these bottles can be shared and appreciated all the more. In this category I would include older bottles of wines made in exceptional vintage years, rare Champagne and Bordeaux, large format bottles, Ports, and vertical flights. Wine Spectator puts out a great Vintage Chart every year that we have on hand and distribute to our Wine Club. Knowing if a wine was made in a moderate year or a stellar year is easy with this reference tool. Finding Champagne with a vintage year is always a great discovery because only the very best years in Champagne are declared vintage years. Bordeaux from a reputable producer in a great vintage year is an amazing find, however you can usually also find lesser known producers and second labels from the most reputable Bordeaux houses for a fraction of the price that are nonetheless exemplary wines. Large format bottles are fun, and not only because of the ostentatiousness of them. Wines contained in bottles that are 1.5 litres in size or larger will age more slowly than wines in regular sized bottles because there is more wine with less of its surface area exposed to air. Vintage Ports are a marvelous investment as well, especially if the year on the bottle corresponds with an important occasion such as a birthday, anniversary, or special event. I may have told you this already, but I purchased a 1994 and a 1997 Vintage Port a few years ago to correspond with my children’s birth years, and am planning on giving these to them when they reach a reasonable age. Who knows? This gift may only be meaningful “An extravagance is something that your spirit thinks is a necessity.” BERN WILLIAMS continued on page four... VOLUME 3, ISSUE 4 Page 3 MAKING PERFECT TURKEY GRAVY By Michael Traquair General Manager and Executive Chef Ramada Plaza Abbotsford It was at this time last year when I shared a story with you of being a child growing up. One of the greatest memories I had was of my grandmother’s Christmas plum pudding. Like most grandmothers she was an incredible cook - and was my inspiration to become a Chef. My Nana passed away a few years ago but I have continued the tradition of making plum pudding every Christmas for my family. Another memory I have about my grandmother is her turkey gravy. Nana’s turkey gravy was anticipated by all and was one of the highlights of our Christmas meal. I remember my uncles, father and grandfather completely smothering their plates with gravy. Nana’s gravy was perfect, not too thick, no lumps, well seasoned, and a rich deep mahogany brown. I can taste it now! I wish to share some techniques with you to help your turkey gravy become one of the highlights of your Christmas dinner. I love you Nana! Making Perfect Turkey Gravy: While the turkey is in the oven roasting (or the day before), cover the giblets, wing tips, and neck bones with water in a large pot. Add a stalk of chopped celery, a chopped carrot, some parsley, and a chopped onion with its peel on as the onion skin gives the broth a golden color. Let this simmer approximately 1 hour. Remove it from the heat and strain the broth, discarding the cooked vegetables and reserving the broth for gravy. Either discard the giblets or, if desired, pick the meat from the neck and wing tips and finely chop it along with the giblets to add to your turkey stock when making the gravy. What are giblets? The giblet bag in the turkey you buy usually includes the heart, liver, gizzard (a part of the turkey's stomach), and neck. After the turkey is done roasting, remove it and the rack from your roasting pan. Transfer the turkey to a platter or board with a lip to collect its juices. Place your roasting pan over 2 burners on the stove over medium heat (always make the gravy in the same pan you used to roast the turkey). Skim and discard any excess fat from the juices in the roasting pan. Using a heavy spoon, scrape all the dark drippings and any crunchy bits from the sides and bottom of roasting pan. These are what add great flavour and a nice rich color to the gravy. Add the turkey giblet stock that you made beforehand. For each 2 cups gravy desired, use 3 tablespoons fat, 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, and 2 cups of liquid (meat juices or broth, bouillon, and/or water). In a separate container with a lid shake together the flour and about 2 cups cool water. This is called slurry. Adding the thickener (flour) in this way helps to prevent lumps from forming. Once the drippings in the pan are lightly bubbling, slowly add the slurry mixture to the gravy pan, stirring constantly. If it starts to thicken immediately stop adding the remaining slurry; you may not need to use the whole amount depending on how many or how few drippings were in the pan. If lumps do develop you should be able to use a wire whisk to remove them. Simmer gently about ten minutes to cook the flour all the way through (undercooked flour gives off a raw taste). Correct the salt and pepper to taste. Pour the gravy into a warmed sauceboat or wide-mouthed pitcher for serving. Remember that gravy will continue to thicken after it has been removed from the heat. “The earth has grown old with its burden of care but at Christmas it always is young.” PHILLIP BROOKS “The Christmas bells from hill to hill answer each other in the mist.” ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON ...FROM VINEYARD TO VINTAGE... Page 4 … continued from page two gift may only be meaningful to me in the end, but I sense they will understand the significance of it since as youths they are already more wine-savvy than a lot of adults I know. Vertical flights are fairly rare, and a fascinating acquisition if you can find them. These consist of three or more of ‘the same’ bottles of wine from any three or more consecutive vintage years, and to me it is always interesting and instructional to discover what sort of difference a year can make both in the creation and in the aging of a fine wine when tasted side by side. Whatever you do, when you purchase and then pour an exciting bottle of wine, surround yourself with friends who can appreciate what they are participating in, gather some lovely large-bowled stemware, and sniff, swirl, and enjoy the wine. I believe that you will be able to recognize the difference between the moderate and the wonderful, and for the experience alone this sort of deliberate extravagance will always be worthwhile. Have an exceptional Christmas Season, and may blessings follow throughout the New Year! CALENDAR OF WINE EVENTS THURSDAY NIGHT SWIRL: December 13th, 2007 DELIBERATE EXTRAVAGANCE with Paul Watkin of Seacove Group This is the Wine Event you need to attend; once every year we open up several of the truly special bottles in our shop and raise the Thursday Night Swirl to the next level with Chef’s inspired food creations! 6pm in the Mt. Baker Room Limited seating, tickets are $50 per person Available at Whatcom Wine & Spirits WATCH OUR NEWSLETTER FOR FUN & EDUCATIONAL WINE EVENTS COMING IN THE NEW YEAR! “The rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads and serious faces with a Christmas greeting.” LOUISA MAY ALCOTT WHATCOM WINE & SPIRITS HOLIDAY STORE HOURS Our store will be open from 9am to 11pm daily with the following exceptions: Christmas Eve December 24th OPEN 9am to 6pm Christmas Day December 25th CLOSED New Year’s Day January 1st OPEN 11 am to 11pm And finally, Happy New BEER… (ahem… sorry about that….) From HOWE SOUND BREWING in Squamish we have a rich, malty seasonal ale called Father John’s Winter Ale made of four different malts, two hops, and a complex blend of ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, treacle, honey, and yellow sugar. $8.49 for 1 litre From FAT CAT BREWERY in Nanaimo we purchased three new Ales. The first is a Honey Beer made with a special organic honey from New Zealand. Then there is Bunny’s Black & Tan named for the proprietor, Bunny. These are $4.99 each for a 650ml bottle. We also brought in a Barley Wine Ale which is a stronger beer that has been aged in old Bourbon casks for incredible flavour and complexity. This one is $7.49 for a 650ml bottle.
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