Friday, 22 December 2017

Christmas Morning Brunch

Hey Fellow Wino's

I hope you haven't blown your cool yule yet running around getting ready for Christmas because if you haven't may I add a few more items to the list for you?

Picture Christmas morning, the snow is falling, you have a crackling fire (for me it's on Netflix-Fireplace), music playing and gifts are being torn open. Once the gift-giving is finished it's time for brunch because Christmas morning deserves something better than cheerios and coffee mate. I think something special like Lobster-Benedict and Sparkling Wine or Champagne would certainly hit the spot.

Recipe from Food and Wine Magazine 

You'll need:
2 -1LB lobsters (could use fresh lobster tails, not frozen)
8 -Large eggs
2 -English muffins
2 -Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 - Large egg yolks
2- Tablespoons of boiling water
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
Handful of Asparagus 

How to Make It

Step 1
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the lobsters until bright red all over, about 12 minutes. Let cool slightly under cold running water, then twist off the tails and claws. Crack the claws and remove the meat. Using kitchen scissors, slit the tail shells lengthwise, then remove the meat. Remove the dark intestinal veins and cut the tail meat crosswise into thin slices.

Step 2    

Half fill 2 large deep skillets with water and bring to a simmer. Crack 4 of the eggs into each skillet and poach over moderate heat just until set, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the skillets and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange the lobster meat on the toast. Top each serving with 2 eggs and keep warm. Sautee asparagus in butter on medium heat until al dente or blanch. 

Step 3
Meanwhile, in a blender, briefly pulse the egg yolks to break them up. With the machine on, add the boiling water in a thin stream, then add the hot butter in a thin stream, stopping when you reach the milky liquid at the bottom; blend just until the butter is incorporated and the sauce is thick and pale. Add the lemon juice and cayenne. Spoon the hollandaise sauce onto the eggs and serve immediately.

Pair it with chilled:

NV Benjamin Bridge Méthode Classique from Nova Scotia, Canada at $32.95

If some of you like things a little sweeter...toss in a drop or two of freshly squeezed orange juice or grapefruit juice to make mimosas. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Sipping, 

Ryan Sullivan 

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Wines for the Holiday - December 9th Vintages Release

Hey Fellow Winos 

With the holiday season approaching we usually have several events to attend, be they work, social or family holidays parties. This particular blog post will feature my top picks for arriving in style to any party and wine's that would also make fabulous gifts for Christmas. Let the other guests bring a bottle of blaaa to the party while you show up looking like a boss with some serious wine every party would love. Some of these are a tad more expensive than I would usually recommend but what other time of year isn't more perfect to splurge than the holiday season? 

Take a read, pick up a bottle and share a little history at the party because it may even help get you that promotion...if not at least make everyone feel great. If you have any wine lovers in your family I'm quite confident they'll love any one of these in their stocking! On a random side note, I'd like to point out that I find people think sparkling wine or Champagne is only for celebrations but it pairs well with an array of foods from hors-d'oeuvres to spicy Indian dishes to a well-marbled rich steak. Sparkling wine is a perfect go to if you are stuck...well darn then :P 

Wine's for the Holiday 

1. 2012 Cave De Turckheim Pinot Gris, Hengst Grand Cru, Alsace, France at $35.95 
The Hengst Grand Cru is one of 51 Grand Cru sites (known locally as lieux-dits) and is 53 hectares in size which is a medium sized lieux-dits. The name Hengst means ‘stallion because heavy horses traditionally worked the heavy ground, a mix of clay and marl over limestone on a south-east facing slope. While Pinot Gris is the French term for Pinot Grigio (Italian) and is the same grape, this wine is certainly done in an Alsacian style. While Pinot Grigio may be more fruit forward, this wine is more round with ripe pear, lemon, minerality and some honey notes. This superb wine is off-dry and would pair well with hors-d'oeuvres such as foie-gras or pate served chilled. 

2. Bailly-Lapierre, Brut Blanc de Blanc, Crémant de Bourgogne, France at $24.95
This Cremant from Burgundy is a Blanc de Blanc meaning it is a sparkling wine made from white grapes, in this case, exclusively Chardonnay. As you know I'm a huge fan of Cremant (sparkling wine from France, not from Champagne) because it offers tremendous value from a country that knows it's wine. Expect this wine to be fresh, mineral-driven and very crisp offering lemon and lime flavours as well as a tight, steely core on an elegant mousse. Start your festivities off with a beautiful toast and a heavenly beverage paired again with hors-d'oeuvres like some smoked salmon. Psstttt the guests don't have to know it cost less than $25 :P 

3. Benjamin Bridge, Method Classique, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada at $32.95
This sparkling wine made from a blend of L'Acadie, Seyval, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay will surely impress any Canadian aficionado. I've had this bottle a few times now and honestly, I don't understand why everyone doesn't drink this!!! On the nose, the wine displays suggestions of smoke and lemon rind with strong sea mineral undertones. The palate is luscious, but with good intensity and vibrancy. Hints of green apples and dried cranberries are magnified by the wine’s bright structure, unfolding in a lengthy mineral finish. You will be able to taste the ocean in your glass with some notes of salinity, perfect for finger food. 

4. 2016 Norman Hardie County Unfiltered Pinot Noir, Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada at $45.00 
The limestone soils and climate in Prince Edward County somewhat resemble that of Burgundy France and not surprisingly our winemakers also style their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in a Burgundian style. This means they let the wine speak for itself by fermenting using indigenous yeasts instead of commercial so the Terrior can shine through with a more natural flavour. This means a more hands-off winemaking process and less hocus-pocus by the winemaker. Norman has decided to not filter this wine and although it may add a slightly hazy appearance to the wine it will be as natural tasting as you could possibly find next to sampling right out of the barrel. Expect smoke and tea, red cherry and cranberry fruit aromas. The palate will have a savoury tone to the delicate berry fruit with some dried herbs showing up at the finish. Simply sip slightly chilled or with any meat dishes. 

5. 2014 Stags Leap Winery Merlot, Napa Valley, California, USA at $44.95 
Merlot had a bit of a bad wrap after the movie sideways but trust me, it's coming back in style and this is going to be one big Merlot. Expect aromas of dark plum and bright red fruit, with enticing hints of clove and cinnamon throughout. Juicy red fruit flavours are effortlessly integrated with notes of caramel and savoury spice that contribute depth to the polished palate. Smooth, velvety tannins and a refined texture give this Merlot a distinct level of sophistication while still being very approachable in its early years. Pair with a winters stew or an earthy meat dish like a roast with root vegetables. 

6. 2012 Gianni Gagliardo Barolo, Piedmont, Italy $54.95
Nebbiolo is the grape variety behind the top-quality red wines of Piedmont, northwestern Italy, the most notable of which are Barolo and Barbaresco. Nebbiolo wines are distinguished by their strong tannins, high acidity and distinctive scent – often described as "tar and roses". This King of Italian wines will surely impress with notes of cedar, almond and ripe strawberry with a floral nose and elements of earth. Sip wine like an Italian king by the fireplace but be sure to decant a bit before serving. 

Lucky No 7
2006 Dom Perignon Brut Champagne by Moet and Chandon, Epernay, Champagne, France $231.95
If you show up to a party or give this gift to someone I sure hope they share some with you, I would insist. Dom Perignon was a monk in the 17th century who pioneered a number of winemaking techniques such as blending as is still done to this day in Champagne but contrary to belief did not invent sparkling wine. This blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay is quintessential Champagne and will certainly make any occasion one for the record books. The unique thing about Champagne is its soils consisting of limestone and chalk offering almost a white rocky soil in some parts. This ancient seabed is filled with fossilised sea shells which can offer elements of salinity to its wine only found in this region of France. This wine is 11 years old and spent 4 years on the lees (yeast cells) to add complex biscuity and nutty notes. I've never been fortunate enough to have a bottle of Dom Perignon but perhaps one day...le sigh. 

Winemakers Notes
On the nose:
The immediate impression is of the mildness of the pure, airy, bright bouquet. A floral, fruity pastel tone then unfolds and quickly darkens into candied fruit, ripe hay and toasted notes, along with hints of liquorice.

On the palate: 

The wine's opulence – contained and succulent, round at heart – reveals itself in the mouth. The envelope slides and stretches, and the wine becomes more complex and edgy, silkier than it is creamy. The whole eventually melts into an exquisite bitterness tinged with the briny taste of the sea.

Happy Sipping,

Ryan Sullivan 

Vintages, Saturday May 25th, 2019

Hey Fellow Wino's I've got some new picks for you to try out from today's vintages release. 1.  Blue Mountain Gold Label Bru...