Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sommelier .. Schommelier

    After a tough week at the office, you rush home, clean yourself up and head out with your favourite gal to a local restaurant to meet friends for dinner. You exchange the usual  pleasantries, asking about their kids, bragging about your own children and picking up the latest gossip about how one of the neighbours down the street had to find an apartment after that embarrassing incident with the babysitter. The waiter finally arrives with the ice water, menus and the wine list. Everyone flips open the menu and starts browsing the selections. I'm engrossed in the menu trying to figure if I can order some sort of low calorie entree that comes with fries so that when the waiter brings the meal, I can exclaim. "Oh ! That comes with fries? I thought it would be a salad"
    One of my friends will pass the wine list to me and mutter something like "OK Mr Sommelier. You pick the wine." (with a definite hint of sarcasm in his voice). Should I say thank you or smack him in the back of the head with the wine list ?

 Later that weekend, your relatives are coming over for dinner. You greet them at the door with a smile and they thrust a bottle of wine in your face like their serving you a subpoena and say something like "I don't know if you'll like this Mr Sommelier but here you go." Should I say thank you for the wine or should I scold him like a grade 2 teacher for not applying himself (got that a lot in grade school) or maybe refuse to serve him dinner until he gets a better wine?

 People seem to think that when a Sommelier is around, there opinion doesn't matter anymore. For me it's exactly the opposite. I would prefer that people have an opinion about wine. I want them to tell me why they like or dislike a wine.  As a Sommelier, my job isn't really about telling you what wine you should buy as much as it is getting you to be as passionate about wine as I am. Try different wines, take risks, talk about wine and most of all.... enjoy it

Here's my picks for this week.

2011 East Dell Black Cab - VQA Ontario

A interesting blend of 42% Baco Noir, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Cabernet Franc with a dark red colour and aromas of blackberry and spice. It's been aged for 12 months in french oak so there's some tannic structure from the grapes and the oak. Lots of dark fruit flavours and a sweet spice on the palate.
Price - under $14 (LCBO 609875)
An easy drinking wine on it's own or paired with grilled pork chops.

2011 J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay - Monterey California USA

Nice straw yellow chardonnay from California with a lot of fruit like apple, pear and nectarine mixed with butterscotch. 50% of chardonnay under went malolactic fermentation to soften it's acidity. Aged sur lie in a combination of american, french and hungarian oak barrels gives it a toasty oak flavour of biscuits and nuts. A lot going on in this wine
Price - Under $19 (LCBO 258699)
Paired this wine with a vegetarian pizza on multigrain crust which worked quite well.
Cheers !!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Great Canadian Wine Match

So here's a good idea that's just in time for summer entertaining and BBQ season. Natalie MacLean ( is holding a wine matching contest called "The Great Canadian Wine Match". The contest is a challenge to find Canadian wines that pair well with the six categories of food that she has selected (chicken, beef, fish, pizza, cheese and dessert). You can vote for your favorite Canadian wine, vote for my selection (hint) or submit your own suggestion if it's not on the list. I will be submitting wines that I've tasted and matched with food. If you like the wine I suggested, just hit the vote button and your franchise will be counted. The more votes I get, the farther my wine selection goes up the list to the top (hint, hint)

Here's the wines that I selected for the The Great Canadian Wine Match.

Under the Chicken Category
2008 Strewn Barrel Aged Chardonnay
A nice golden yellow chardonnay that pairs nicely with Greek marinated BBQ chicken and a Greek salad with a few dolmades on the side.

Under the Beef Category
2009 Elevation Vineland Estates Cabernet 
A nice blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon with flavours of cherry and dark fruit.

Under the Pizza Category
2009 Bergeron Estates Winery Gamay
A lighter wine with nice aroma and flavours of cherry, spice and pepper. Not overpowering when enjoying it with a pizza

Under the Cheese Category
2008 Pelee Island Winery Pavillion Eco Trail Chardonnay Auxerios
50% Chardonnay and 50% Auxerois, this off dry white has good acidity balanced with some nice fruit that would pair well with a slight salty cheese.

Under the Fish Category
2008 Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Inox Chardonnay
A nice crisp chardonnay with pear and apple flavours. There's no oak in this wine to mask the flavour of the fish. Just a real mineralty to it which allows it to pair well with any white fish.