Looking for a last minute bottle of bubbly?
Two of my favourite rose sparkling wines are both under $35. While they are not Champagne, they are both made in the same style, the Traditional Method.
My number one non-champagne pick is the “Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut” by Henry Of Pelham. Canadian! This one will set you back $33 here in Newfoundland.
My second Valentines themed bubbly is a Spanish Cava, “Segura Viudas Aria Estate Pinot Noir”. It’s 100% Pinot Noir, also in the traditional method, for 20 bucks! You just can’t beat that. Photo on the left shows some nice tight bubbles and a pink-red colour.
Pair it up with some smoked salmon, pâté, or your charcuterie tonight!
As I look back through the tattered remains of this blog, I think back to the innocent days when I was just entering the world of wine. I was fuelled with both excitement and apprehension, but utterly confused as to where I could start my journey.
It’s not that I’d change anything I did in the beginning… I had tons of fun! However, this week I have been axing old posts left right and center on this blog, stripping it down. While the partially completed 52 bottles of wine project remains, you will no longer see anything appear on here venting my frustrations. That is not to say that I’m going to ignore writing about the bottles of wine I don’t like (this is important and necessary).
On another note, I am now halfway through ISG’s Level Two Wine Fundamentals program (ISG being the International Sommeliers Guild). I’m a second level wine student! In a nutshell the first level was a “varietal” approach… essentially examining the different grape types. This also included other aspects like where the grapes grow and their ‘favourite soils’ so to speak. Level Two, on the other hand, is a regional approach and goes far more in depth with geography and local foods.
Secondly, it has become very clear I have neglected this blog. That is not to say I have stopped drinking wine! In fact, the opposite is true! Over the next few weeks I’m going to be examining what to do with this site. The likely result is an Atlantic Canadian approach to wine – that will largely encompass the wines I’ve been enjoying which are available through the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation (NLC), however it may also include anything else I’ve gotten my hands on (here in Newfoundland or in the nearby Nova Scotia).
Finally, I’ll be heading to Nova Scotia at the end of the month. Stay tuned for some updates on that front… this will include a trip to The Bicycle Thief Restaurant, as well as the Obladee Wine Bar and other goodies!
As always, keep wining!
Bottle 15 of 52 was a Barbaresco, the first Italian wine to appear on the 52 bottles project.
The nebbiolo grape used in Barbaresco is typically medium to high in tannin, medium to high in acidity, and high in alcohol content. It is important to note that these three aspects contribute to how long wine can age. For this reason, I chose to decant the wine. In fact, most nebbiolo’s need time in the bottle to mellow the tannins. Given this was 2007, this really emphasized the fact that it would need decanting.
|Appearance:||clear, garnet core|
|Nose:||leather, slight smoke, dark cherry|
|Taste:||intense cherry, rich texture, chewy tannins. After 1 hour of decanting it changed to more dried fruit: prunes, raisins and hints of cloves|
|Notes:||decanting does wonders. 30-60 minutes mellows the tannins and lightens the wine, more cherry present.|
For $20, this was actually a pretty nice Barbaresco. I’d probably serve this with an Italian main course dish. A grilled lamb dish would suit quite will here, especially if there was a jus sauce. The tannins working with the fat of the lamb, and the hints of smoke in the wine working with the grill. Duck would also work well here, playing on the cherry component of the wine.
Bottle 14 of 52 was another Gamay varietal, however it was from a different region in Beaujolais. This drank similar to the Drouhin Moulin-A-Vent I posted as Bottle 8.
It was a little tight upon opening it. It was decanted for ~30 minutes, allowing it to open up into nice red fruit.
|Wine:||Brouilly “Les Saburins” Cru|
|Appearance:||clear, purple core with violet edges|
|Nose:||strawberry, red fruit, leather, hints of spice, banana|
|Taste:||strawberry, red fruits, sour cherry, good savoury-like middle component|
|Notes:||good acidity (mid to high) and nicely balanced|
Overall, this was a great buy for $22. This is a light red that would pair well with a wide variety of things. I actually noted that it would be a nice wine to drink right through a dinner with multiple courses, especially spring through summer. The acidity was medium+ with delicate fruit, some leather and a savoury-like component.
Comment in if you have tried this, or would like to.
Let’s make this one succinct and honest: I’ve fallen behind with posting.
The truth is… well… I’ve made it far too much of a pain to post what I’m drinking. Basically I’ve sucked the fun out of the online portion of this project. With multiple photos and intensive editing, I’m basically quadrupling the already cumbersome ordeal of noting the wines I drink. Essentially I’m noting on paper, then photographing it, and then retyping all my noted online in a text box. There has to be a happy medium where I can post quickly and efficiently.
Thus, my next move is to work quickly posting all the backlog – because I still really do note almost every bottle of wine I drink – eventually honing in on a ‘quick’ format with easy readability, useful information and something you can take away. Keep in mind, the main goal here is to let you in on a chunk of my life [this project] which hopefully spurs you along on your own wine journey – whatever that may be.
So here is lucky bottle number 13. It is a Muscadet which I consumed all the way back in March.
Let it be known that Muscadet is not a type of grape, it is actually “Melon de Bourgogne” or the Melon grape [of Burgund] as the name suggests. Nevertheless, the grape and name are more-a-less intertwined. However, if you’re trying really hard to impress someone, this can be a useful piece of information.
|Grapes:||Melon de Bourgogne|
|Wine:||Muscadet ‘Sevre et Maine’|
|Region:||District of Nantes, Loire Valley|
You’ll notice that I’ve condensed a fair bit here, so dig deep into my notes if you want any of the tasting notes.
The scribbles from my notebook:
This was a nice clean wine, simple, and something that would pair well with equally simple. Classically, a Muscadet can be paired with shellfish and oysters – this is because of the acidity, citrus flavours and sometimes mineral and brine-like qualities. This particular wine had some tropical fruit going on, pineapple, but it was nice and floral on the nose and had some scotch-like brine qualities that would go so well with shellfish.
I actually had this with some lettuce and avocado. The ‘green’-ness of this wine and it’s acidity pair well with green vegetables as well (by ‘green’ I mean vegetal qualities, the lime components I found, etc AND the wine can also show green hues in the glass [typically meaning cool climate also, but that's another story]). A good tip to keep in mind is ‘green dishes’ (asparagus, etc) go well with ‘green’ wines.
Overall, this was a great buy for $15. It did the job on some tricky pairings and represented a French Muscadet quite well.
Welcome back & Happy wining folks!
Thankfully, a number of things have converged together giving me a much needed push on clearing out the backlog and catching up on posts:
- A nice write-up from the folks over at Signal, lovingly referred to as “The St. John’s Blog”. Signal is a volunteer-based not-for-profit blog about life in the city of St. John’s, working to “bring you different perspectives from around the city on local news, culture and current events”. You can go read Darcy’s encouraging narrative here: 52 bottles of wine on the blog. Much thanks sir!
- I’ve been taking wine classes… since April 16th. They happen on Monday evenings, a few times a month. Yes, this means I sit in a classroom and learn about wine and drink wine. It is a “Wine Fundamentals” course, and I’d like to talk more about this later… [link will appear here once I make the post].
- I’ve been working at another cafe… “Fixed Coffee & Baking“. This is a much more progressive joint; I’ve been cooking and working on the small menu, which includes a house cured juniper salmon – served on a cream cheese bagel. The menu is expanding, and so are the food and beverage pairings we hope to be doing!
- Lastly, I AM still drinking and writing about wine. I just need to streamline the process so that I can make my posts faster and more efficient. This way, I’ll get them all up… and on time!
The next step is to work quickly on the posts I already have ready in my note book. Future posts should include a nice blend of information: on the wine, why I picked it and a little breakdown of what I ate with it as well as what I think it could also work with.
Here’s to the future!
Cheers & Happy Wining,