I’ve heard you talk about enjoying wines with chocolate many times and have dabbled in finding appropriate pairings. I’d love to throw a small party featuring the two but am not really sure where to begin. Could you offer me a couple of suggestions as to how many wines and how many types of chocolate I should offer, as well as the format the evening might take?
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We’ll be welcoming a gruesome crowd (witches, goblins and ghosts) for our first Halloween party at our new condo acquired just last month. A range of wines, always our first beverage of choice, will be served but we wondered if you knew of any cocktails or drinks that are made with wine, preferably red, and/or if you know of any Halloween themed wine labels out there?
Congratulations on your new condo, what a fabulous way to beckon good spirits and good friends to your new abode!
I was thinking of bringing an icewine to a dinner party being thrown to congratulate a friend of mine on her newly acquired role in a television series. A lover of sweet wines icewine seemed like a good choice.I then learned there are also sparkling ice wines. What are they like and would this be an appropriate wine to bring? Are they served chilled like a regular white wine and are they served in white wine glasses?
A sparkling icewine would be perfect for the occasion!
Not only does it satisfy with respect to being a sweet wine, but the added fanfare surrounding their opening! The celebratory note of the bubbles will surely be a hit! Sparkling Vidal ice wines isthe most common grape used for making ice wines. It will offer up a delightful blend of tropical fruit flavours, oftentimes of apricot and peach, and with a touch of citrus. Although a superb dessert wine, sparkling icewines also marry well with a variety of appetizers. The delectable flavour is enhanced with a wonderful balance of sweetness and acidity, perfectly delivered to the palate with the effervescence of the lively bubbles. Serve in fluted glasses and well chilled as you would a sparkling wine or a Champagne.
January 11–27, 2019
For three weekends in January the Niagara region is transformed into a wintry wonderland, in celebration of one of Canada’s most cherished products, Ontario Icewine. The 2019 Niagara Icewine Festival offers plenty for every taste – glamour and indulgence at the Niagara Icewine Gala, unique wine and food pairings at over 40 wineries, and vibrant outdoor street festivals.
If you’re looking for luxury, you can’t miss Canada’s most lavish evening, the Niagara Icewine Festival Gala at Fallsview Casino Resort on January 11. Dance the night away at this all-inclusive evening of elegance, fine wine, and the best in Niagara culinary, with a “Northern Lights” theme.
For the wine and culinary explorer, the Discovery Pass program is your ticket to eight unique pairings at your choice of over 40 wineries across the Niagara Region.
https://www.thewineladies.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/images_IcewinegrapesinbarrelsaskthewineladiesMay2014.jpg402997Susanne Seelig-Mensehttps://www.thewineladies.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/WineLadiesLogoTransparent.pngSusanne Seelig-Mense2018-12-28 17:28:182019-01-07 11:08:33Can Icewine come as a sparkling icewine?? Ask The Wine Ladies
I would love to surprise my husband with a fabulous homemade dinner made with one of his favourite meats bison. I am not too familiar with this meat. Leaning toward a ribeye and wondered if you have any suggestions on which wines might pair well. Any ideas on how best to prepare and perhaps even source these meats? I live in a rural area so there’s not too much availability in my neck of the woods.
We too are fans of the various meat alternatives such as bison, becoming increasingly more popular in restaurants and more available in butcher shops. Bison (often used interchangeably with buffalo meat) is known to be leaner and less dense than beef and is widely accepted as one of the tastiest and healthiest all-natural alternatives to the traditional meats.
When it comes to wine pairing, because bison has considerably less fat than beef, wines with less tannin will make for a better match. WHAT IS TANNIN? Tannins come from the skins, stems, and seeds of the grapes. As well as from the oak barrels the wine may have been aged in. That dry sensation you feel in your mouth when drinking a red wine is due to the tannin in the wine. The more tannic the wine, the more you will pucker up and feel the sensation.
The reason the level of tannins are relevant when it comes to pairing red wines and meat is that tannins cut through the fat of the meat. If one is enjoying a fattier cut, such as a juicy fatty rib eye steak, opt for a big Napa Cabernet for example. As bison is a high protein, lower fat alternative, a better choice would be a red wine with softer tannins such as a Pinot Noir, Malbec, a softer Syrah or perhaps a Tuscan Sangiovese.
As far as availability goes, upon a little investigative work, we learned of a company based in Montreal that markets high quality bison. The bison is raised without the use of any chemicals, hormones or steroids. Norfolk Bison ships across Canada and offer a wide range of wild game products. There is also one recipe we would like to share with you called the “Double Bison Sirloin; Michael Jordan’s style” that includes a touch of truffle oil and would pair beautifully with a silky Pinot Noir.
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My brother-in-law and his wife just returned from a holiday in Provence and brought back a unique wine called “vin suit”. What exactly is vin cuit? I know “cuit” means“ cooked,” but I always thought it was a bad thing if a wine was described as “cooked.”
Yes, you are right in saying if a wine is being described as “cooked” it is definitely not a positive. What is cooked wine? Essentially, wine that has been damaged by heat either during transportation or during its storage. One potential sign of a cooked wine could be a cork possibly pushing itself through the capsule after it has expanded due to the heat. If the wine no longer has a fresh fruity flavour, but rather a flavour that seems stewed, baked or burnt, then you have a “cooked” wine. Vin Cuit on the other hand is quite a different story. It is rarely found outside of France. It is most commonly available in the south of France in the glorious wine region of Provence, where it originated.
After the harvest, usually sometime in October, winemakers begin the annual tradition of making Vin Cuit. Over a fire of oak wood, they place a huge cauldron filled with the juice from select pressed grapes, usually Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. The juice is then cooked for about ten days with a constant watch over so as not to boil. The liquid is reduced by as much as half and leaves a concentrated level of sugar. The juice then ferments, with a majority of the sugar being converted to alcohol but not all resulting in a high sugar as well as fairly high percentage of alcohol in the wine. Final step is the aging of the wine in oak barrels for up to two years. Vin Cuit is considered a dessert wine and apparently pairs beautifully with Roquefort cheese and foie gras. There is only a very small production of Vin Cuit as you can imagine and quite a find.
THE WINE LADIES
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My husband and received a bottle of Sauternes as a gift. Our foodie friend Brenda told us it would remind us of our icewine. Brenda told us it is a special and pricey wine, due in part to how it is made. We don’t particularly favor sweet wines, but my mother-in-law is mad for them. So I thought it might be a great treat for Mother’s Day. Is icewine made the same way as Sauternes?
Indeed, a great treat, Sauternes is the “king” of all sweet wines! Sauternes can only come from France and be produced in the Grave district south of Bordeaux. Icewine is not restricted as to where it can be made although Canada is widely considered the authority on this luscious wine – the “Nectar of the Gods” as it is commonly referred to. Both are sweet, complex and delectable!
Both Sauternes and our icewine must adhere to a strict set of regulations as to how they are made, although the rules and methodology of production for the two are entirely different.
What defines Sauternes is “noble rot”. The uniqueness of Sauternes is due to the mesoclimate it enjoys which encourages a very special fungus called botrytis cinerea, otherwise known as “noble rot” to attack the grapes. It is this fungus that causes the grapes to shrivel and rot, and allows a wonderful concentration of tartaric acid and sugar to develop in the grapes resulting in a wine of great complexity. Layer upon layer of rich flavours, honey, mango, flowers, brioche and so on. Ever lasting and age worthy beyond decades, this is Sauternes.
There is one similarity between our icewine and Sauternes. Outside of being dessert wines they are both very expensive to produce. Icewine needs to meet certain conditions in order to be made. For our icewine one of the regulations is that the grapes cannot be picked until the temperature reaches a minimum of -8 Celsius. For Sauternes, it is not about the temperature but rather about this unique fungus that must infect the grapes. Both situations are risky. In Canada, the birds and deer feast on the grapes while winemakers patiently await the freeze, limiting the yield. In Sauternes, the viticulturists must await the infection of noble rot, and occasionally it just doesn’t happen, or it can come very late limiting the yield even more. So patience is a virtue in Sauternes, as it is in Canada!
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At a recent dinner party the hostess noticed a small amount of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. It looked like tiny pieces of glass. This wine was a white one from Germany. I was a little hesitant to drink the wine however one of the guests assured us the wine was fine and there was no cause to worry. What were those little pebble-like stones and are they really harmless?
You are describing pebble-like stones are commonly referred to as ‘WINE DIAMONDS’ or weinstein. This literally translates to “wine stones’ in German speaking countries. What exactly are they and how did they end up at the bottom of the bottle? These wine diamonds are actually harmless crystalline deposits that naturally separate from wines during fermentation and aging. Potassium acid tartrate, the potassium salt of tartaric acid is the major component of this sediment. The presence of tartaric acid, along with malic acid, are very important in winemaking as they help provide good structure, fruit flavors, crispness on the palate and an increased lifespan of the wine.
The majority of winemakers today recognize that the consumer is alarmed or put off by the presence of these crystalline deposits even though they are harmless. Rather than educating the public, many wineries employ a process called ‘Cold Stabilization’ prior to bottling. This involves chilling the wine to just below zero degrees, causing the potassium bitartrate to crystallize. The wine is then filtered and bottled. Having the wine undergo this process prior to leaving the winery assures a clean filtered wine with no sediment. In cases where the wines do not undergo cold stabilization at the winery, this precipitation of the tartrates could happen during cold weather transport or cold storage conditions in one’s cellar.
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My husband and I regularly enjoy a glass or two of wine with our meals with our favourites usually coming from either Australia or California. We never really got into French wines but just recently attended a tasting featuring a couple of wines from Bordeaux and absolutely loved them! There was one in particular that we both really enjoyed and was within our budget. The name of the wine was Chåteau Larose Trintaudon, Cru Bourgeois. We purchased a couple of bottles to bring to an up coming dinner party and would like to know a little more about this wine including what Cru Bourgeois means? Perhaps a few words on the region of Bordeaux as well. Thanks Wine Ladies.
Welcome to the world of French wines and to one of the most famous wine regions in the world, considered by many to be the greatest region for producing fine wines. Still till today the wines of Bordeaux are also seen as “benchmark” wines for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines being made around the globe.
Here is a little basic information on the region to start. Bordeaux is located in the southwest of France and is actually a very large wine growing region, which produces over 900 million bottles annually. The Gironde River basically divides the region, with the chateaux on the left side referred to as the “Left Bank” producing wines predominantly with the grape Cabernet Sauvignon, and those on the right, or Right Bank with a focus on Merlot. The Chåteau Larose Trintaudon you enjoyed comes from the Left Bank. Bordeaux produces both white and red wines with the majority – 90% being red.
Unlike the new world wine regions that state the grape, whether a Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Cabernet etc…on the label, the wines of Bordeaux do not. Bordeaux wines are typically blends which for the red can include any or all of the following; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, used much less today than in the past. One of the pivotal times in the history of Bordeaux and her wines was the famous 1855 Classification of the wines, a ranking system initiated by Emperor Napoleon the 3rd which still influences today’s market. A total of 58 Chateau were selected, four 1st Growths such as Chåteau Lafite Rothschild and Chåteau Margaux. The list included 12 seconds, 14 thirds, 11 fourths and 17 fifths. It is an interesting story how this all came about, should you decide to delve into it a little further.
Of course there are so many incredible Bordeaux wines to explore and enjoy, wines of suburb quality and at great value including the one you mentioned that we too were very impressed with, Chåteau Larose Trintaudon. The origins of this domain go as far back as 1719 but it was in 1817 that the vineyard was first planted on a gravelly hillside with a terroir that proved to be exceptional for the Bordeaux varietals. Today Chåteau Larose Trintaudon is one of the largest vineyards in the Medoc both in size and production and is recogn ized in the world over as a top quality Cru Bourgeois. The Chåteau was also one of the very first to earn this recognition to be classed as a Cru Bourgeois in 1932 of which the company is very proud. Chåteau Larose Trintaudon also owners of Chåteau Larose Perganson and Arnaud are one of the pioneers in Bordeaux in terms of practicing sustainability and have been credited with the highest evaluation in sustainability and earned the label “Responsible Vineyard” as one of the leaders in France.
Our appreciation and enjoyment of the wines Chåteau Larose Trintaudon and the Perganson has lead us to invite the Winemaker and CEO of the company Franck Bijon, from Bordeaux to join us here and lead a spectacular Winemakers Dinner. We invite you to join us on February 22nd for what will be an incredible four-course dinner created by Chopped Canada winner Executive Chef JohnRoss Woodland of Noble Bistro. Featuring these fabulous wines and a quintessentially French pastry the macaron, both sweet and savoury,this will be an evening to remember. For more details visit www.thewineladies.com
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We used to drink Valpolicella from Classico quite a few years back. Recently we came across one you mentioned on one of your shows. The Negrar Ripasso which we very much enjoyed. I’d like to know a little more about this wine and the region. Thank you Wine Ladies!
Vino from Veneto…love the wines, love the region! Valpolicella is a wine that comes from the region of Veneto, located in the north east of Italy, home of the “big gun” Amarone and Romeo and Juliet!
When a Valpolicella is classified as a Classico and done in the ripasso method, the wine reaches new heights in flavour, texture, body and aromatics! The designation of “classico” requires the grapes to come from the original Valpolicella production zone. In 1968 this zone was later adjusted.The great majority of grapes used are the same as for Amarone, the Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella varietals although small percentages of a few others are permitted.
The methodology of “ripasso” is an ancient wine making technique used for centuries in Valpolicella wineries, which gives the wine more structure, body and fuller flavour. How? Ripasso” literally means “re-passed”. Amarone is produced using grapes that have been dried for several months. These same skins of those dried grapes are then used for the production of Valpolicella Ripasso. These dried grape skins add body, character, complexity and a boost of alcohol strength.
The Negrar Ripasso Valpolicella Classico is dark ruby red in colour, is seductive in the nose with lush blackberry and black licorice notes and a hint of spice Full bodied, velvety smooth, rich and with a good finish.
Negrar is a cooperative winery founded in 1933 and located in th Classico area of Valpolicella. With 210 farmers/partners producing typical grapes for Vapolicella on a surface of 530 hectares, they are one of the major producers of Amarone, Valpolicella and Ripasso wines.
As read in Community Captured
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We have guests visiting from London this summer and we were thinking about doing a one-day bicycle wine tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake. We’d love to show off a few of our wineries. Just wondering if you’ve done any of these tours and might have some thoughts to share on your experience.
Yes, we have had the opportunity to enjoy a winery tour on wheels and would highly recommend it. The best way to share our thoughts on this is by recounting our personal tour experience of last summer.
We booked through GRAPE ESCAPE WINE TOURS. They were kind enough to give us a personalized guided “ride”. Grape Escape Wine Tours has been awarded the TRIP ADVISOR’s Certificate of Excellence for 5 years running. It is family owned and operated and obviously do a fabulous job. They offer a great variety of guided wine tours for single participants, small groups, larger groups, either on foot, in a vehicle or on a bicycle.
HERE IS OUR STORY…
What a glorious day for a bike ride. The sun is shining brilliantly, there is a gentle cool breeze wafting through the trees and my shorts fit! Hallelujah! Niagara wine country here we come for our inaugural, abbreviated bicycle wine tour – we are excited!
It’s been a very hectic summer thus far and we are looking forward to experiencing a little relaxation, sunshine, stunning scenery, some wonderful wines, and just a tad of exercise. We are teaming up with Grape Escape Wine Tours for a private and privileged tour, on which we’ll visit three wineries, to sample a red wine, a white wine and an ice wine. The plan is to have a full facility tour at one of the wineries and enjoy a wine and cheese tasting to close off the afternoon. On this excursion, we will peddle close to 8kms at a leisurely pace, returning to our base camp in just under 2.5 hours.
For those who might like to consider a bicycle wine tour, the typical Grape Escape Wine Tour “afternoon bicycle tour” is lengthier. It is closer to 5 hours (12kms) and includes 4 wineries instead of our 3.
Our rendezvous point is Kurtz Orchard Farm & Marketplace where we are to meet our guide, get fitted with our bikes and our helmets. It turns out Kurtz is the perfect place to meet. The grounds are beautiful with an abundance of lush greenery, towering trees, glorious wild flowers, a quaint bridge over looking a small pond… the setting is an inspiration and quite suitable for even Monat or perhaps Sisley! We are feeling relaxed and invigorated already. Jacquie who will be our guide and we love her right from the start. She is full of zest, she suits us up, we test drive the bikes – it is all systems go.
Off along the Niagara Parkway we go full of enthusiasm.
There is a sense of the local beauty and bounty NOTL has to offer, with vineyards in view and fruit orchards dotted along the way, with rows upon rows of pear trees running parallel to our path. After a relaxing and scenic several kilometer ride, we arrive at our first winery. Here is a snapshot of the 3 wineries we enjoyed on our tour. This may or may not be the itinerary for the next group, or individual’s tour, as Grape Escape Wine Tours has a broad roster of wineries that they mix and match accordingly. They also have introduced several new tours this year including their “Ultimate Wine, Beer & Foodie Bicycle Tour”, as well as their “Wine, Beer & Tapas Vehicle Tour”.
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour. Next month we will report on the 3 wineries we visited – Inniskillin Wines Inc., Pondview Estate Winery and FrogPond Farm Organic Winery. Stay Tuned!
thewineladies.com • tourniagarawineries.com
As read in Community Captured
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