Sunday, June 9, 2019

Pizza and Wine

One of the many joys of visiting a winery is the opportunity to sit and relax on the patio enjoying a magnificent view. To enhance this experience many wineries are adding pizza to menu for your enjoyment. In fact, it may be the only food item they provide. To enhance once again the experience many wineries have built a wood burning pizza oven.

To be honest, if I was in a Pizza restaurant I would not have wine. Rather a simple glass of water or milk does the trick for me.

There are numerous options for your wine selection. There are so many various topping available. Sarah is a great choice for cheese lovers. Cabernet Franc for pepperoni. However, let us remember the wineries usual produce more fancier complex toppings.

Margherita is a popular pizza. A dry Rose works for me as does Bacchus.  Hawaiian is my favourite and with it, I like an Ortega or Bacchus. A riesling also satisfies.  For those who like wines  a Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or Merlot to handle the meat.

By offering the patio experience along with Pizza the winery is now a family destination!

No matter what pizza you choose and what wine you select just relax and  enjoy

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Wine made from the White Birch Tree

There are those that challenge nature and produce exciting new products for us to drink or eat. One such product is wine made from the sap of the White Birch Tree.

Betula papyrifera paper birch also known as canoe birch is a short-lived species of birch native to northern North America. Paper birch is named for the tree's thin white bark, which often peels in paper like layers from the trunk. Paper birch is often one of the first species to colonize a burned area within the northern latitudes and is an important species for browsing. The wood is often used for pulpwood and firewood.
You can drink the sap! Especially if it is served as an alcoholic beverage, wine.

David Hassan, a Scotsman in the region of Härjedalen in northern Sweden had an idea that he would make the world’s most ecological alcoholic beverage. The result is an aperitif called Björk, which is Swedish for birch (Sweden is filled with these white trees). David has about 400 of them on his land.

To produce Björk, he collects the sap and heats it over an open fire using logs from his own forest. He adds yeast and the fermentation takes a few weeks. The product ages in demijohns in a root cellar for one year before it is bottled. The alcoholic content is 22%.

It smells of sweet apricots and the taste is definitely exciting and different. It is slightly sweet, a bit perfumed and floral. The aftertaste is quite dry with a small but distinctive tone of forest (if one can say so, it is certainly something that makes it feel different from a “regular” wine). Björk is already served in many Swedish restaurants.

In Newfoundland, Craig Lewis has started a Birch Sap winery called SapWorld. Located in Fleur de Lys on the islands northern edge. The small community has a population of about 250. Craig named his wine "Lady of the Woods"

Saturday, May 18, 2019


A few nights ago as we settled into our bed my wife decided to read to me an article about the benefits of Watermelon. Apparently, it is quite the fruit. A very under appreciated fruit indeed.

Most people enjoy watermelon in the summer enjoying its cool high water content. Its hydrating and low number of calories. Watermelon has one of the lowest fruits in calories.

The melon is a very good source of vitamins and minerals needed by your body. They are high in Vitamine A, Vitamine C, B1,5 and 6. They are also a good source of potassium and Magnesium.

Studies show the watermelon helps prevent cancer and heart disease. 

After my wife finished reading her article  I simply said "you know where the store is"

It was not until the next afternoon as we sat by the water sipping wine that I wondered what wine goes best with watermelon.

According to an old Wife's Tale from Argentina red wine and watermelon spells death. That, of course, is not true. However, I still think the best choice would be a dry white wine. In doing the research  I actually came across some red wine and watermelon recipe, not to mention Watermelon Wine.

I myself would most likely choose a Riesling.  A Chenin Blanc would be good too. I know one writer that says there is only one wine that's right - Provencal Rose.

One winery owner suggests Venturi-Shulze Brandenburge #3 that is a desert wine. SO I may have to open my mind and try a sweeter wine next time I have watermelon.

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

It's Summer

Summer-like weather has come to the lower mainland of British Columbia. It is only the first week of May and here we have temperatures in  20s and it will get even hotter. This gave Barbara and I the opportunity to enjoy the patio and the gifts of nature along with some delicious appies and fine wine.

Barbara brought the cheeses, cucumbers, snow peas, celery, avocado dip and other delights. I made the chose of wine. Today the wine would be Seaside Pearls Fraser Valley Gold Chardonnay. A most refreshing light wine. Abundant with citrus flavours that tantalized your taste buds.

There are many wines that can be referred to as patio wines. Two others that I really enjoy are Bacchus and Ortega. Rosés are also very popular.

As the evening cooled Barbara switched to a  Lake Breeze,  Lieutenant Governor’s Wine of the Year award for 2018 for our 2016 Pinot Noir.

Friday, May 3, 2019

A French dip sandwich, also known as a beef dip, is a hot sandwich consisting of thinly sliced roast beef on a "French roll" or baguette. It is usually served topped with Swiss Cheese, onions, and a side of beef juice from the cooking process. Beef broth or beef consommé is sometimes substituted.

The French Dip Sandwich did not originate from France but it’s originator, Philippe Mathieu, was French.  Phillipe owned a sandwich shop in Los AngelesPhilippe the Original that is still around today!   According to the story, Philippe was making a  sandwich for a policeman and accidentally dropped the sliced French roll into the drippings of a roasting pan.  Instead of getting new bread, Phillipe served dipped bread and the policeman loved it so much he returned the next day with friends requesting all of their sandwiches be dipped in the meat drippings – and that’s how The French Dip Sandwich was born.

The Now question is what wine goes best with this delicious sandwich. Now I prefer my dip to come almost plain butter on the bun and beef no onions no cheese. The last wine I had with my dip was from Italy a very smooth Pinot Grigio.  It complimented the beef and au juice nicely.

Others say if the sauce is intensely winey it again tends to suit full-bodied youthful reds like Syrah/Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. If it's served with gravy you're better off with a more classic wine like a red Bordeaux or a Rioja.

The two main factors that would affect the taste of the wine would be horseradish which I do not use and a thick spicy sauce.

I have also tried Chardonnay and Petite Milo.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Complications of Wine Language

Have you ever found yourself surround by friends or even strangers and been asked "how do you like the wine" Your mind searches for those wine terms, the wine language you read about in wine reviews.

"I like the rich fruity black cherry and smokieness in the nose and the even bitter finish." Is this the description that flashes through your mind. You want to say. "It's Good I like it." Well go ahead, say it! Wine tasting does not have to be complicated. You do not have to extend the boundaries of the English language to describe the wine.

I have never understood "bright black fruit with anise dill and leather notes." Bright is a term that describes light not taste, anise dill I understand, anise can be described as having a liquorice flavour, leather denotes hmmmm okay. What if someone described the wine " with a touch of olive and saddle leather" Would you know if it was good or bad. Is a wine supposed to have a leather flavour?

What about tobacco? The descriptive term, used by some, to describe a flavour component resembling the taste of raw tobacco leaf in the finish of certain red wines. Seems to mainly apply to Cabernet Sauvignons from Bordeaux, France or the Napa region of California. " Cigarbox " is a common term often used as a near synonym especially if a cedar-wood note in the aroma is detected. (Non-smokers may have trouble with this word and its implication).

Perhaps I'm just a simple guy who likes his wine and prefers to say.. I like this wine. Its good. Most enjoyable. an easy drinking wine with fruity flavours

Don't be intimidated by the language of wine. Simply describe the wine as it tastes to you. Allow your senses to react to the wine. Wine is to be enjoyed. The wine language is unique but you do not have to know it or refer to it in order to enjoy the wine tasting experience.

The following article from the Wines of Michigan * website

The Simple Pleasures of Wine by Joe Borello

The topic of wine is fascinating and often times emotional. It is a simple agricultural product, yet many have a tendency to shroud it in mystery and complexity. It is important to realize that wine has been placed on dining tables for centuries as a natural beverage that serves as a pleasing and logical companion to food.

Few other products offer as much diverse subject matter as wine. Interests range from cultivating personal vineyards, visiting the actual property of a winery, collecting wine labels, building a wine collection of fine wines, to simply taste-testing different wine styles with friends.

Wine also combines instinctively with an interest in food. Many professional and amateur chefs are wine hobbyists because good cuisine demands wine both as an intricate seasoning ingredient and as a basic component of the dining table. Keep in mind that like food, it is important to create a point of reference for what you may like in wine. As time goes by and your tasting experience grows you will notice subtle differences in your preferences, It is helpful to seek information from others, but don't be intimidated by their opinions.

Although many hours could be spent studying the finer points of wine, it is best enjoyed as an uncomplicated subject. So, what is the best way to enjoy and learn about wine and food? The experts tell us there is no substitute for personal tasting experiences. Through taste comes the acquisition of knowledge. What better way to acquire knowledge then by visiting local wineries or gathering with a group of friends for a wine and food tasting? As you taste and compare wines you will find that not all are pleasing to you. Wine, like food, is made in many different styles to satisfy different tastes. It is up to the individual to choose the wines that best suit a personal palate and pocketbook. In North America we are fortunate to have over 900 winery tasting room facilities in which to experience a variety of tastes and styles of wine. Many of these wineries have educational tours and videos of the facilities and the winemaking process. Knowledgeable winery representatives then guide visitors through enchanting tasting tours of nature's fruit of the vine.

*this article was edited to fit our blog. Permission to use the article was obtained from Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Charles Krug 1980

There is nothing like a good friend, especially one that comes for dinner bringing a 39-year-old bottle of wine from the icon Charles Krug winery in the Napa Valley.

Charles Krug was a pioneer in the California wine industry Staring Napa Valleys first winery in 1861 and opening its tasting room in 1882.

We had a dinner party with five of our closest friends. In our house, we usually serve Canadian VQA wines along with additional offerings provided by our guest. This evening we celebrated with the 39-year-old wine with great anticipation.

Would the Zinfandel stand the taste of time? Would age be its enemy! The wine had been properly stored. The cork seemed moist. It was just a matter of opening it and tasting the wine.

Following Krug's death, James Moffitt Sr. purchased the winery in 1894. In 1943, Robert Mondavi persuaded his parents, Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, to purchase the inactive winery from Moffitt for $75,000.

The winery was named to the National Register of Historic places in 1974.

Our anticipation was heightened when the cork broke when in the process of pulling it out of the bottle. The bottom half slipping back into the bottle.

I was honoured to be allowed to be the first to sample the wine.  There was a nice aroma of black fruits. I willing say the aroma may have weakened for the years. The first sip was impressive as I swirled the wine about my mouth. Soft spicy and smooth is how I would describe the wine. We had a winner.

It was now time to allow everyone to decide for themselves if the like the wine; a 39-year-old gem. Small tasting portions were poured.  Everyone was impressed. Demands were made to fill the glasses once again.

Charles Krug would be proud. I was feeling blessed for having such good friends.

The winery is located at 2800 Main St Saint Helena .
Did I mention Barbara and I honeymooned in Napa Valley in 1992. Our saty in Napa led to our love of wine and the the establishment of