Thursday, September 30, 2010

By bottle or glass?

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My friend polled everyone at dinner a few weekends ago about how they drank beer. He wanted to know if we preferred drinking our beers out of the bottle, or in a glass. Apparently, he had a revelation while he was on vacation in Beijing, where the proprietor of a restaurant he was patronizing convinced him that drinking the piss water on the menu out of glass was a mark of connoisseurship. Nice. Alas, his argument would have been stronger were he not serving this kind of garbage. Now, if there was something like a Sgt. Major IPA or at least a Guinness on the table . . .

My guy KZ put it nicely when he said that only men who drink with erect pinkies drink beer out of a glass. I like that a lot . . . I'm going to steal that one.

DF

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fluff food

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Right, and there was this, continuing on from the last piece. One word of advice, for anyone planning to host a dinner in the near future for old friends - keep it simple, keep it simple, KEEP IT SIMPLE!!!

DF

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mooncake

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I have no sweet tooth . . . sweet desserts give me little pleasure, and a (single) bite is really all I ever need. Eating mooncakes to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival has always been a commercial thing that has little to do with the actual festival. But when the dinner being served is less than satisfactory, my goodness, you eat what you can. Sweet enough to induce a diabetic stroke, with a palate sticking texture to match. How is it possible to enjoy eating this stuff? Huh??

DF

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nice rack

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Like my rack? I was at Crate & Barrel looking for shot glasses, and then I got distracted by this bamboo wine rack. I suppose it's supposed to be for the table, to present your stemware, but I'm using it to dry my glasses. Simple, elegant, and it folds up!

DF

Sunday, September 26, 2010

1998 Haut-Médoc

1998 Chateau Verdignan

1998 Château Verdignan, AC Haut-Médoc

To end off a weekend of drinking cabernet, a mature, humble Haut-Médoc that incidentally showed the most regional character of all 3 wines we drank. Isn't that how it always goes?

Dark, slightly dimming colour, with a youthful bouquet of fresh red berries and that graphite minerality that I look for in a good Haut-Médoc wine. Firm, plushy tannins, big structure, quite delicious in fact. After 24 hours in the bottle, it develops this savoury, meaty character, all the aspects of cabernet that I love. Palate becomes sweeter, fine texture, well balanced - very pleasant to drink.

So what did I come away with, after a weekend of cabernet wines? I still believe in this varietal, if done well. Too bad most producers (and consumers) think of cabernet as being rich and concentrated . . . this varietal has the ability to produce wines of great elegance and finesse in the right hands. I still enjoy drinking Bordeaux, but will traditional claret producers still be around in 20 years? If so, I'll still be drinking.


DF

2002 Niagara Peninsula

2002 Legends Cabernet/Merlot

2002 Legends Estates Reserve Cabernet/Merlot, VQA Niagara Peninsula

Continuing with an older Niagara wine. I don't know the percentages of each varietal, nor do I care. What's a bit frustrating about Niagara wines is that mature examples are difficult to find, unless you buy each release and age them yourself. The market just does not support producers holding onto vintages, and releasing them at maturity. This, the 2002, was from a somewhat hotter vintage, and although I still believe that all cabernet vines should be ripped out of Niagara, I still want to taste. I've had mostly unfortunate examples of Niagara cabernet, all grossly lean with a bouquet surprisingly mirroring freshly laid road tar. This, thankfully, was different.

With a dark colour, all purples and reds, the wine shows deep fruit, ripe, with subtle mocha and oak. Youthful, which follows on the structured, fine palate. Finish is good. Balanced, vibrant, ripe - good hallmarks of what Niagara can achieve with these varietals. It's drinking well at this point, and what it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in rigidity and a still youthful exuberance. But can a cabernet wine of distinction be produced in Ontario? I'm still not convinced.

DF

Saturday, September 25, 2010

2001 Lalande de Pomerol

2001 Chateau Tour Saint-Andre

2001 Château Tour Saint-André, AC Lalande de Pomerol

I've had enough with this Bordeaux bashing that's suddenly become the trademark of all these hipster American wine drinkers. You can rail against the absurdity of the whole En Primeur system, of French greed, of the desecration of Bordeaux terroir, of whatever . . . people are still buying and drinking Bordeaux like it's going out of style, no? I don't know how I feel because I still buy a lot of Bordeaux, much of which I have yet to touch. My first real, serious purchase of Bordeaux was the 2005 vintage, so there's a bit more to go before I venture for a taste. What did I want to do in the meantime? I wanted to drink more Bordeaux, more cabernet, more merlot, and instead of painting the whole region with the same brush, to see if I actually enjoyed any of the wines.

I had a weekend of Bordeaux and cabernet/merlot wines a few weeks ago. We started with this one . . . a 2001 from a more minor area of Bordeaux, off the plateau of Pomerol. Browning slightly, but good, dried fruits, rustic and earthy, good complexity - showing its age, but retaining a fine texture and structure. Becomes more savoury, meaty, and over time, reveals more nuance and more of the character you expect from a Bordeaux. Elegant, and drinking beautifully. Good start.

DF

Angry cooking

Courvoisier VS

So, a pretty uneventful day. Washed my car for tomorrow's trip to Stratford, then just absolutely butchered dinner. I need to remind myself to relieve anger, frustration, and all that nonsense before I touch food. The cooking was just terrible tonight, messy, uncoordinated, and a complete tragedy.

Emptying my cognac is helping.

DF

Need a drink

Courvoisier VS

Sometimes, just sometimes, you ever so rarely wake up on a beautiful crisp Saturday autumn morning, and thirst for a drink. Sometimes.

DF

Friday, September 24, 2010

2006 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

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2006 Tenimenti Angelini Tre Rose, DOCG Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

Vino Nobile is always a tricky proposition for dinner. Unfortunately, like many other Tuscan wines, you really don't know what you're getting. Is it a modernist nightmare, or a subtle southern beauty? Thank goodness this one was the latter - I don't drink much Italian wine to begin with, so a bad one certainly doesn't encourage me to drink more.

This is a good one, gratefully. Bright red fruits, elegant with a sweet texture, the only issue I have is the noticeable alcohol on both the bouquet and the palate. A big issue as dinner continued - I'm sensitive to alcohol, and while some people would be ok with this bottle, this drinks as unbalanced. At least the oak was subtle. And I wasn't disappointed enough that I was going to give up on Italy - wait until you see the next Italian wine I drank.

DF

Huangshan Fungi

Huangshan fungus

We have a fungi guy. Yes, a friend who we call on to ship over all kinds of rare fungi, from someone he knows in the mountains. This particular example is vegetation from the famous Huangshan mountain ranges of Anhui province. They pick it fresh, then dry it out in the sun. We cook it with the most amazing fatty cuts of pork, and they join together to create this incredibly earthy flavour. So delicious, the shoots remain oddly tender but firm. And it's just picked right off the mountains!

DF

Thursday, September 23, 2010

古越龙山五年陈花雕

Shaoxing wine

Chinese cuisine does not have many famous food/wine pairings, but this one is sacred - crab and Shaoxing wine. I love this wine, I love crab, and thousands of years of tradition must mean something. Crab has a cooling effect to the body - the wine has a warming energy, balancing everything out. You warm it slightly with indirect heat, and as you can see here, I enjoy it in bowlfuls. Delicious as can be - the sweetness of the crab pairs beautifully with the slightly oxidative quality of the wine.

This particular bottle, 古越龙山, was one I bought back from Shanghai. Sort of a connoisseur's wine, it's slightly sweet, with lovely balancing acidity, and a very round palate. It's almost a shame to warm it, as it emphasizes the oxidative flavours that characterize Shaoxing wine, but this is a very, very good wine. This producer makes bottlings of various ages - this particular wine is aged 5 years, the most humble example for a humble drinker.

You're missing out greatly if you've never experienced crab and Shaoxing wine. As I said, a sacred relationship.

DF

Steamed blue crab

Blue crab

Blue crab

Steamed crab is the essence of Shanghai cuisine. You cannot be a true Shanghainese if you haven't developed a relationship with this dish - how to clean, how to steam, and most importantly, how to extract the deliciously sweet, firmly textured meat. These crabs were feisty, very lively and ferocious as I was scrubbing them. As I picked one up, I tried to get its claws to release its hold on another crab. Without warning, she reached up with her free claw and clamped firmly down on my left index finger, just below the nail. I screamed. It was painful, and bloody, and felt like my nail popped right off - it also became infected.

I was understandably eager to tear into them.

You steam quickly, separating the shell from the body, and removing the organs that you can't eat (lungs, digestive tract, membrane). This is what you want to see - the beautiful orange and yellow brain matter, rich and creamy. This isn't the roe - the eggs collect on the underside, and fishmongers almost never sell crabs that are ready to spawn. You use the shell of the crab as sort of a dish for the dipping sauce, a mixture of rice vinegar, finely chopped ginger, and sugar. Delicious, and eaten steaming hot.

I always loved crab. Usually, parents introduce this dish to their children by picking out all the meat for them - that's no fun. I was taught at an early age to break down the crab myself, and how to extract all the meat. The brain matter was an issue - the palate has to mature to understand how delicious it is. The kind of food where you know you've grown up once you really start enjoying it. In the past, my ancestors who lived in Zhejiang/Jiangsu provinces would eat these with a special set of instruments - small hammers to break the shell, picks to remove the shell and extract the meat . . . we aren't as ceremonial with them now. Thick skin and desensitized fingers are really all you need to gorge on this steaming, succulent treasure.

DF

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

Blue crab

Fearsome looking, isn't she?

It's that time of year again - the Chinese are celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival. We had fish, braised pork, greens tonight. Not much going on, as it's the middle of the week, and everyone knows that Wednesday is the most depressing day ever. In honour of Shanghainese tradition, I want to talk about blue crab. A different variety of crab is eaten in China (mitten crab for those fortunate enough to be in Zhejiang province), but the spirit remains the same. Simply steamed live, and paired with its soulmate, a warm bowlful of Shaoxing wine. More later, on how we eat our crab, and what we eat it with.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

DF

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Courvoisier VS Cognac

Courvoisier VS

Oh, just for the hell of it, shared a few hits of Courvoisier VS Cognac with a friend the other night. She was a bit stressed out, I just wanted a drink. The VS signifies Very Special, meaning a minimum of two distillations and two years in oak. A very sweet cognac, not my immediate choice when I think of spirits (hello Islay single-malt), but then again, I didn't have to pay for this. Don't know how much it helped my friend, but she stumbled out a bit more light-spirited than when she came in.

DF

Monday, September 20, 2010

NV Crémant de Bourgogne

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NV Louis Bouillot Perle d'Ivoire Blanc de Blancs, AC Crémant de Bourgogne

Sparkling wine makes me happy and buzzed. Don't underestimate its vigour - if there's any wine that can effortless put me under the table, it's a sparkler. Especially a good one, enjoyed over a nice meal with a beautiful woman. One can dream, no?

A blanc de blancs nonvintage brut from Burgundy, simple but drinkable with our seafood. I don't really know where I'm taking this post, so I'll end it by saying that no, I didn't get drunk from this. It was the cognac that ended up doing me in. What about you? What wine gets you all smashed and giggly?

DF

Sunday, September 19, 2010

On winged feet

New Balance 1226

New Balance 1226

I got a pair of orthodics made. Hideous, no? But apparently, unless I wear them, I'm but a few hundred kilometres away from shredded knees and plantar fasciitas. But they're hideous, and I'm still convinced that barefoot running is the way to go.

DF

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Beer producers printing lot numbers

Sgt. Major IPA

And this is why I love Sgt. Major India Pale Ale. Freshness is key to the enjoyment of beer, and I appreciate how this producer is labelling lot numbers on each case. This particular one shows 13 07 10, which leads me to believe that the beer was bottled on July 13, 2010. We want transparency in everything, from our finances to the groceries we buy, so why not our beer? This sets the example, a true industry-leader. We need more people taking this initiative, most of all in wine (Champagne, fortified wines). What's stopping everyone?

DF

Friday, September 17, 2010

1997 Rheingau

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1997 Balthasar Ress Riesling Spätlese, QmP Hattenheim Nussbrunnen, Rheingau

Oh yes, another mid-90's riesling. I had an interesting conversation with a very interesting lady a few weeks ago about wine. She was concerned that because she only enjoyed sweet white wines, she could never be a proper wine drinker. I tried to steer that conversation towards a dinner invitation, but alas, if only I was as charming in person as I am . . . here. In any case, I love sweet wines, if only for the balance that the residual sugar brings. As always, the least interesting thing about a proper sweet wine is the sweetness. Yes, everyone in agreement?

I love these older rieslings, even if it's just a Balthasar Ress. You can't just be drinking the hallmark Rheingau producers and claim a love for riesling - it's easy for people to say Ferrari makes great cars, but how many people can truly appreciate the greatness of, say, a late '80's Honda CRX? This wine pours a mature golden colour, oil and petrol, stewed apples and lovely honey. Minerality just shines as you keep exploring - sweet palate, with lots of honey drenched apples, with a just softening acidity to brace it up. Drinking beautifully now, with nicely resolving flavours and texture. This is a good one.

So, what of my lady friend? I need a drink.

DF

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In magnum

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Something I've always wanted to add to my cellar is large-format bottles. I know there are a few Niagara producers who bottle in large-format - I'll figure out for sure on my next trip. LCBO came out with a sale on 2005 Bordeaux in large-format. Most are priced out of all sense and reason, but I found a relative value - a magnum of Lafon-Rochet 2005. Fun. Last tasted the 2007 at the UGC Bordeaux tasting, and was very impressed with this estate. Looking forward to drinking this in 15-20, with fingers crossed tight that it's not corked.

So, why large-format bottles? Well, the winos say that because they contain more wine, the oxygen to wine ratio is much smaller - and since less oxygen contact means slower aging, magnums are said to yield finer, more elegant, and long-living wines. So they say. I just think it's so badass to thump a gigantic bottle on the table when you have your friends over in dinner. In 15-20, mes amis.

DF

Aceto balsamico di Modena

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Balsamic vinegars works for me. Like olive oil, I'm tasting my through balsamic vinegars, sort of leading by palate. This, Acetaia Bellei, Aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena. Bottled under cork. Dark, so fragrant, floral even - there's an incredible freshness on the bouquet, with good sweetness and balancing acidity on the palate. Delicious, although the bottle is terrible - the neck is designed so that a few dribbles are inevitably wasted on every pour.

DF

Sleepy

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Found this gem today, an article about how sleep-deprived teenagers are.

Teens are “not simply little adults” when it comes to sleep needs, said Dr. Michel Cramer Bornemann, co-director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center at Hennepin County Medical Center. “Adults require about eight hours of sleep each night, while teens need at least nine. Yet the average teen gets only about six. They’re running in a chronic sleep-deprived state Monday through Friday.”

Teens have a bit of what he calls a natural “sleep delay,” or tendency to stay up later and sleep in later than their biological clocks will dictate when they reach maturity, a routine that doesn’t jibe with school schedules.

I can totally relate. I totally have sleep delay, except, what it is called when you sleep early yet still can't wake up in the morning? General laziness?

DF

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Precision fitted

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Furniture is a funny thing. It has to be instantly functional, yet maintain a certain form. These Qing Dynasty models on display at the Royal Ontario Museum fits that bill. What's fascinating is the craftsmanship - again, I can't believe I'm talking so much about how extraordinary the craftsmanship is, on Chinese products - but look at the joints. There is no glue used, no nails - the entire chair is just completely made of wood, precisely shaped so that the joints are perfectly joined together. Just amazing, how precise each piece has to be engineered.

The chairs, again, have this simplistic elegance that's just amazing for a 500 year old piece of furniture. The Chinese used to leave these chairs unpainted, all the better to let the natural beauty of the wood grain have its glory. I'm a bit sad now, because my trip back to China these year demonstrated the degree to which my compatriots love excess and kitsch. Inspiring pieces from the past, a reminder of the magnificence of old China.

DF

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Priceless porcelain

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And I love porcelain. If there's one thing I've learned from Japanese cuisine, it's that the plate you use is as important to presentation as how you arrange the food. These porcelain pieces were on display at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum, all of them from the late Ming, early Qing dynasties, from JingDeZhen, an old town in JiangXi province known for the quality of its porcelain. This area has produced porcelain for 2000 years, and is absolutely the finest example of the art - JingDeZhen porcelain has been romanticized as being as thin as paper, as white as jade, as bright as a mirror, and as sound as a bell.

Beautiful, no? The simplicity of the design, but the utter perfection in the form, just an incredibly fine example of what Chinese craftsmanship used to be like. This town became well-known over the centuries, and became the exclusive supplier to the Imperial Court. Legend has it that if pieces were rejected for subpar quality, they were smashed inside of being sold off for cheap, to ensure that every piece of JingDeZhen porcelain in use reflected the absolute highest quality. We can learn so much from the dedication of these craftsmen, and the true passion they had for their craft.

There are pieces that can seem immediately dated - these personify the idea of timelessness. So, so beautiful, and incredibly, at 500 or so years old, still perfectly able to provide service at dinner. Sigh . . . to go back to the days when Made in China wasn't a bad word.

DF

Yixing, properly

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I've made a fuss about how much I love clay teapots, so to see this perfect example at the ROM was a dream. A Yixing clay teapot from the late Ming Dynasty. Look how elegant it is, how perfectly simple yet stunningly beautiful. The sign of truly great craftsmanship is how the lid fits, how the handle and spout connect seamlessly with the body. No (at times hideous) engravings marking the teapot, just an otherworldly display of the raw beauty and form of Yixing craftsman. On loan from the private collection of a rich English woman, no less. They say that when you're selecting a teapot, you don't select necessarily on physical properties. It's a feeling, a relationship between you two - once you see the right one, that feeling is unmistakable.

In the appreciation of tea, as in life, I long for things that belong to another.

DF

In meditation

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Any museum exhibit on China is incomplete without religious statues. The bodhisattva GuanYin and hero of the Three Kingdoms, GuanYu, are represented here. Slightly eerie, slightly chilling, but epically Chinese.

DF

Scrolls off of stone

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Before we actually got to see the Terracota Warriors exhibit, we wandered around the China area of the museum. You have to book a time to get in - clearly a good plan, to protect the soldiers. These scrolls were incredible - original impressions off of carved stone steles, just beautiful in the precision and fluidity of the calligraphy. They don't allow this anymore - the imprints involve heavy chemicals, which cause damage to the stone. I have a few calligraphy books handed down from my grandfather, which were original imprints of the steles of YanZhenQing and LiuGongQuan, two of the grand masters of Chinese calligraphy. I've been meaning to photograph each book in its entirety, as the pages are becoming quite fragile. Soon.

DF

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Terracota Warriors

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I finally managed to organize a trip to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, where the Terracota Warriors exhibit was on display. Artifacts from the Terracota Army site in Xi'An, as well as a few statues were exhibited for the first time. A magnificent example of the grandeur of old Chinese kingdoms, and although the exhibit perhaps doesn't quite capture the majesty of the actual army, the level of detail and craftsmanship is simply spectacular.

Unfortunately, cameras weren't allowed inside. I'll save the photos for when I go to Xi'An.

DF

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sicilian extra virgin olive oil

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I have this thing for olive oil. Health benefits notwithstanding, it is every bit as complex, as regionally-diverse, and as interesting as wine can be. Partanna Nocellara del Belice Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, an outstanding example of terroir oils.

I still have much to learn on this subject matter. What I do understand of this oil is that it is a single varietal oil, from the Nocellara del Belice olive, produced in Partanna, Sicily. A pale greenish colour, it's certainly vegetal, with an herbal character that brings a lot of rusticity and freshness on the palate. Very round texture, delicious when it's poured directly on the dish.

Who knew I could be as stiff about olive oils as I am about wine.

DF

Saturday, September 11, 2010

2008 Marche

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2008 Giusti Piergiovanni Lacrima di Morro d'Alba, DOC Marche

Italian wines are fickle wines. You don't know which you're going to get - the traditional, authentic Italian, or the trend-chasing, marketing-obsessed charlatan of a wine. Tristemente, I've been disappointed more than excited with the Italian wines that I drink. But, as evidenced by a stunning Sangiovese di Romagna tasted a few months, it's clear that when Italy gets it right, it's really right. A point of contention I had with the lady who decided to hijack my writing and photo, but being chauvinistic about your home country's wines is a sign of blind ignorance, masquerading as patriotism. A great wine is a great wine, regardless - conversely, a bad wine deserves as much honesty.

Lacrima is tears. What this refers to is the varietal - when the grapes ripen to maturity, the skin breaks, and the juice runs out like tears. Certainly a more obscure wine, but experience proves that sometimes it's the unknown ones that provide the most authenticity. With a vibrantly dark colour, this is so floral - all violets and freshness. Lots of energetic fruit, very fresh, and an incredibly terroir-specific wine. Ripe but perfectly balanced, this wine shows it's quality after 2 days of air, just an aria of fresh rose petals and fresh red fruits. With high tannins, it almost has a crunchy texture, with length. Positively singing, a gorgeous example of what Italy can achieve.

I put some away. No doubt this will be exciting in 5 years or so. If I can drink more Italian wines like these more often - I really have to start rethinking my buying decisions. Alas, alas . . . one can always dream.

DF

Friday, September 10, 2010

No one likes wine?

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As I'm tracking my page views, it's interesting to see that the pages enjoying the most views have nothing to do with wine. No one wants to read about wine? I'm flattered that you're reading at all, but it kind of defeats the purpose of writing a wine blog if no one reads about it, no? Maybe it's because I write while watching tv or doing something else - I shouldn't be multitasking. I should work harder to make the pieces more interesting. Let me know what I can do to make you want to read it.

Or maybe I just need to start writing while under the influence and just be really, really inappropriate. Yeah.

DF

Thursday, September 9, 2010

2006 Haut-Médoc

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2006 Château Belle-Vue, AC Haut-Médoc

I have so much affection for this estate - last drank the 2004, in what seems like an age ago. Look how I used to write! This wine satisfies those needs for a structured, well-made claret, without all the hype and corresponding price. Made in a more understated style, these wines nonetheless are very, very good. I have many bottles put away, and they didn't require the sale of an organ!

Look at how beautiful it is - double decanted, chilled, and all sorts of red and purple. This wine has all the vibrancy, all the freshness that good cabernet can achieve, with the creaminess and well-tempered oak that Belle-Vue does so well. Complex, fragrant, and so elegant. This is a great success, and the fine, linear tannins promise to integrate beautifully in 10 years.

You know the one drawback of this wine? The bottle is dead heavy, with unnecessarily thick glass. Why? Tradition? Marketing concessions? Why? No, I'm not being a smart-ass, I'm genuinely interested in knowing why. In any case - this is why I still enjoy drinking Bordeaux. In spite of what the hipster wine drinkers of America want you to believe, real wine is still being made in southwest France.

DF

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

String, drip, slurp

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Cold somen, as we were taught how to eat it. The idea is, you pick up only a mouthful with your chopsticks from the ice bath, dip it in the soup base, and slurp. The key is to make lots of noise because apparently the Japanese feel that if you sound like you're eating a savoury meal, it'll taste like one too.

False.

It's funny how many North Americans claim to love Japanese food, without having any kind of understanding of what it really is. I'm not claiming I do, but we do have a Japanese person in the family, and after a few visits to Tokyo, I have a good idea of how bland, boring, and completely unfulfilling Japanese cuisine can be. If you want a satisfying meal, with heart and soul, eat Chinese food.

DF

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Somen tsuyu soup base

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This is the sauce used to eat our cold somen with. I think it's just a glorified, watered-down soy sauce, but maybe it's just me. My aunt brought over a few bottles the last time she visited, but you can find these in a lot of Chinese supermarkets in Toronto now. Now, if only the LCBO would get its act together and begin importing Shaoxing wines . . . they sell all sorts of substandard sake, so why not a proper rice wine?

DF

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ice bath

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. . . and then you plunge the noodles straight into an ice bath. This ensures that each strand of noodle falls freely. As soon as the noodles cool off, it's time to eat, with a special sauce . . .

DF

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Non-stick

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So you cook the noodles, but what's kind of amazing about these noodles is that they will never stick in the pan. You just let it boil and leave it alone - try it with any other kind of noodle, and you end up with a clump of useless mess. They claim that it's impossible to overcook these noodles. I didn't want to test that claim, so I quickly strained off the water.

DF

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cold noodles

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My aunt sent another package from Tokyo, and I found these noodles inside. In the summer, the Shanghainese love to eat cold noodles - cook the noodles, leave to cool, and stir in soy, rice vinegar, a bit of peanut oil, and chili oil. This is the Japanese equivalent of cold noodles. Food shouldn't be this pretty, this done up. Silly Japs.

DF

Friday, September 3, 2010

2006 Minervois la Livinière

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2006 Château Cesseras Rouge, AC Minervois La Livinière

I have these wines that I have attachments to, more often than not, irrationally. But all love is irrational, and so is my infatuation with Cesseras. I drank my first vintage many years ago, when I first began really wrapping my head around southern French wines. And I loved them, all rich and modern-styled, unyielding black and jammy. It was also the first wine that I began putting away in earnest. I haven't seen recent vintages being released these past few years, so it was wonderful to see a 2006 - the last two vintages I drank were the 2002 and 2003.

I double decanted, slightly chilled, and got ready to drink. It has this dark, shimmering purple colour, with a bouquet to match - all pruney, dehydrated fruit, searing alcohol. Clipped finish, slightly bitter on the palate. Yeah, I don't know if this wine is meant for early, mid-term drinking . . . I'm savaging this wine a bit, but it's just not representative of what the Languedoc can achieve. My goodness.

But I still love Cesseras.

DF

Thursday, September 2, 2010

2008 Mosel

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2008 Becker-Steinhauer Riesling Kabinett, QmP Veldenzer Kirchberg, Mosel

Summer is winding down, and LCBO is breaking my heart with these recent releases. There's just been a total lack of interesting German rieslings in the releases these past few weeks - very disappointing. What happened to all the wonderful Nahe wines from earlier this year?!

What we get here is an utterly unremarkable wine, non-descript and sadly lifeless. A correct wine, mind you, just devoid of heart. Lacks bouquet, lacks texture - just an issue all over, monstrous yields or something going on in the cellar, just a disappointing wine. Sad. And I really try hard to like these wines.

DF

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Post No. 1901

Profile - Colour

Oh boy. Nineteen hundred pieces later, and I'm no closer to gaining an understanding of wine as when I began.

I never know quite what to write for these retrospective pieces. The writing has certainly been prolific - no one writes so many in such a short period of time - the question is, is any of it meaningful? Who knows. Since this is a retrospective, I've got to . . . I guess reflect a bit. Certainly after the events of the past few weeks, I should be looking at what exactly I'm trying to accomplish here.

I've been hearing it from all ends, from everyone, everywhere - but I just don't understand the interest in why I remain single. Is it so hard to comprehend that I don't want to commit to any random girl that flashes a smile? No, right? And the fact that, yeah, maybe the idea of a serious relationship is completely unappealing to me now? I guess I just don't have many good role models. I've seen too many of my friends being owned by their girls to the point of, yes, servitude, and no thanks, I'm not hankering to be anyone's bitch. So there you go, DF is single because he refuses to settle.

Moving on, please. Next time I hear someone ask me about it, I'm going to lose it.

Heading into fall - apparently the Niagara harvest has begun already. It's certainly been a hot, relatively dry summer . . . dreams of 2007 again? We'll see, around October, on my next fact finding trip down.

I guess I'm just a sucker for a good wine and pretty women.

DF