Sunday, July 31, 2011
Love to cook. And I haven't been feeling inspired for many months now. That's a problem.
It's not so much that I don't have the equipment or whatever - it's more this lack of interest/motivation/inspiration to go out in search of fresh ingredients to cook with. You know I haven't been to a farmer's market yet this year. Not that I was ever really big into that whole thing, but it was nice when I was at least excited to go out on weekends to shop for food. Some good news coming up though . . . my aunt and cousin will be visiting from Tokyo in 10 days. And they're going to be bringing me some interesting things to cook. Yes, not just to eat, but to cook. Until they pass through customs intact, I think it'd be prudent to keep my mouth shut.
This is probably something really petty, but I can't stand when people call themselves/others chef. You're not a fucking chef. Neither is your friend. The word chef means chief/leader/boss, and in a kitchen, there is only one chef, who incidentally does very little cooking. Conceptualizing and creating the menu, yes. Leading the different stations, definitely. And giving each dish a final inspection, most certainly. So take a long, hard look at yourself if you call any idiot who picks up a spatula a chef.
If I was rich. I'd do culinary tour through Spain. Start in the north with the shellfish and squid and continue south with all the jamón ibérico of my fantasies. I'd come out with bad cholesterol and a fucking macerated liver but I'd be happy. And ready to die. One can dream.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
2005 St. Stephen's Crown 3 Puttonyos Tokaji Aszú
2007 Château Liot, AC Sauternes
It's an absolute thing of beauty. A bottle of Sauternes, a bottle of Tokaji. Two kings of the wine world, and we were going to drink them over dinner. Yes, where these sweet wines belong. Just look at that colour, those bottles, those corks. Double decanted, put on ice . . .
Friday, July 29, 2011
2008 Dr. H. Thanisch Riesling Kabinett, QmP Bernkasteler Badstube, Mosel
How do you milk even more out of a song that really has lost of all its original meaning? By putting it on a cigar of course. It's a nice smoke; simple, but nice. Just make sure your fingers are clamping down over the label.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
1998 Balthasar Ress Riesling Spätlese, QmP Hattenheim Nussbrunnen, Rheingau
Real riesling fanboys know better than to look down at Balthasar Ress. Yes it's a huge producer and all, but that's like refusing to drink Louis Jadot or Bouchard Père et Fils. There are always gems in the portfolio.
Cidrerie St-Nicolas Pom'Or Tradition Crackling Cider, Quebec
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I'm slowly learning how to grill seafood. Fish and tentacles and shellfish on hot coal is infinitely more interesting than meat. How is it that whenever people do bbq, it's all shitty burgers and chicken, dry and tasteless? I did squid a few weeks ago. Seasoned very simply, finished with the most amazing raw olive oil. Flavour, aroma, texture . . . it was all there. With mojitos in the other hand, just beautiful.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
It's been blazingly hot these past few days in Toronto, but I'm not complaining. After months and months of cold and snow, I'm not about to start moaning about some sun and heat. Except when it comes to my wine in storage of course. I owe my friend and her family endless thanks for giving me a wonderful space to store my wines. Every few months or so, I'm reminded that I buy too much wine, and it'll probably all go to shit when I finally decide to drink them. Good. So of course, in line with how the rest of my life's going, Vintages did its best to fuck with me and not bring in my 2008 Bordeaux Futures until this week. Because it's always fun and appropriate to ship and store Bordeaux in the dead heat of summer.
I had a few other boxes of wine I needed to put away, some 2009 Niagara wines. Just as important, there were a few bottles I wanted to pull out of the cellar, namely a few bottles of 2006 Le Clos Jordanne. I had bought bottles of nearly every cuvée they made that year, and as this vintage is aging quite rapidly in bottle, I wanted to drink them. The heat was roaring, but I managed. Seven bottles of 2006 Le Clos Jordanne, with a few Champagnes and old rieslings. Everytime I go I say to myself that I won't buy anymore wine. Running out of space, definitely running out of budget. You know that scene in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps when Louis Zabel calmly finishes eating his chips and then steps in front of the train? Maybe a bit too messy and attention-seeking for me. And it's such a shame to off yourself with a (gifted) bottle of Lafite in the cellar. End of August, it'll come soon enough.
Stay tuned, planning a dinner to show off the range of 2006 Le Clos Jordanne chardonnays and pinot noirs. Sort of like a last hurrah.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
2002 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
First, I must address these somewhat ridiculous past 3 months or so. Haven't been feeling well, or myself, in a long time, and it's affecting everything. Who was it that said When the mind suffers, the body cries out. This will hopefully eventually sort itself out, but in the meantime . . . please bear with the inconsistent writing and posting schedule.
Friday, July 22, 2011
2006 Château Belle-Vue, AC Haut-Médoc
Thursday, July 21, 2011
2004 Conde de Valdemar Reserva, DOCa Rioja
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I'm (somewhat) an adult so I can do stuff like this without having to be sneaky. My local tobacco shop sells these cigars that are actually their own blends, made in Cuba for them. Wrapped to the store owner's tastes I suppose. A torpedo, this is quite dark. Very strong, with a nice draw. Round smoke, but I feel like this would knock me out if I tried to finish it in one go.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Back from Montreal after a successful day of presentations. Straight on, back to back, but quite enjoyable actually. So humid, making all the walking around in a full suit somewhat of an ordeal. Airport security a nightmare, as usual. Dinner at P.E. Trudeau airport, back in Toronto just before 8:30. At least I looked calm. An hour long flight is hardly worth going into hysterics over - what is it with Canadian hicks who make such a big deal over these things?
Sunday, July 17, 2011
I've arrived in Montreal, staying for a night. I don't know if it's the flight or something else but I have a raging headache. Heading out later to meet with a friend. It's so humid here. But Montreal is always fun.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
2005 Fontanafredda Serralunga d'Alba, DOCG Barolo
Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I'm not a partisan of ice wines. Labour-intensive, if made in the right way, definitely. But the wines are chronically boring, just a confected mass of sugar and alcohol with little complexity and no finesse. As more than a few ice wine producers have told me, it's just concentration isn't it, chuck it in a freezer and you'll get the same result.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I try to cook like a man, and there's nothing more manly and barbaric than cooking on an open flame. We tossed out our stupid gas grill and replaced it with this beauty. They say you need to season the grill before putting food on it. I burned my old school notes because I though it'd be therapeutic and I wanted to kill two birds with one stone. Flames leapt high. Neighbours were frightened.
Madame Benezit described this as so poetic. Christine Thouzeau's soleil d'hiver was displayed in the window of the gallery - love at first sight. It belongs to the collection Les saisons. And it is full of whimsy, of poetry, and of French-ness. Somehow, it looks better sitting on a table than it does hanging up. Or maybe it's just the house.
Mystery wine? Hardly. The bottle was sitting in an ice bath for 3 hours or so and the labels just slid right off. Must have been hand glued on, so charming. Can't you just picture it, a little German in lederhosen and feathered hat, patiently gluing on thousands upon thousands of labels. I like Germans. They're good tourists. Unlike, say, pratt English folk, the Germans at the very least attempt to speak and understand the local culture. I've seen Germans both in Shanghai and in Paris now, with the same result. And the wines they produce . . . the glorious, glorious wines.
Monday, July 11, 2011
2009 Weingut Familie Rauen Riesling Kabinett Trocken, QmP Detzemer Würzgarten, Mosel
I don't have much faith in dry riesling. Or rather, this style of dry riesling we always seem to be seeing come out of Alsace, that heavy, alcoholic headiness they seem to equate with typicity. So all this news about these magnificent trocken rieslings coming out of Germany leaves me intrigued, although still a bit skeptical. But what's the worst that can happen . . . I have to force myself to finish a bottle of wine?!
This was part of a tasting of three other rieslings, a throw-down of two Mosel wines and one Niagara. It was finally the first hot weekend of the summer in Toronto, and I had the charcoal ready to go. Getting all the stemware out to the backyard was a bit nerve-wracking, but managed it without disaster. Ice bath out, grilled seafood and greens on the table. Time to drink.
And this wine was great. Low alcohol makes all the difference in dry riesling, I'm so convinced. Steely minerals and citrus, citrus. A fabulous amount of freshness, with a wonderful amount of roundness and elegance on the palate. Develops honey, finishes long, and just absolutely delicious. Am I convinced about trocken rieslings? I should probably drink a few more, but this bottle is a nudge to skipping past Alsace.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
You recall the beautiful piece I bought in Paris, my little angel. I found this one in the same gallery, produced by an arguably more well-known artist by the name of Christine Thouzeau. The gallery owner showed us some of her commercial work - she's apparently huge in Japan. I'm willing to take her word for it, because I fell in love with these pieces.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Riesling is a wine you drink, not taste. The low alcohol helps, but on a hot day, with the minerals and acid, nothing satisfies like a big gulp of young Rheingau riesling. I'm a seasonal wine drinker, and these wines in the summer are just all love. With fish, with greens, with anything. All love.
Friday, July 8, 2011
According to sources, Yao Ming has retired from the NBA.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Could I possibly be any more enthusiastic about Lailey? Could I possibly find another superlative to describe how I feel about these wines? Search for all my pieces about Lailey and all the hyperventilating will make sense. These wines fulfill all the criteria for what a great wine should be - typicity (of varietal), singularity (of time and place), and ageability.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
In May, I went to Niagara on my first tasting trip of the year. I was eager to taste through some of the 2009's, and get a first impression of the 2010's. I was fighting a head cold, but the palate was functioning sufficiently well. My first stop was at Stratus, to meet up with Charles Baker and taste his riesling. I knew it was going to be a good tasting - what I hadn't counted on was how good Stratus' 2007 red wines were showing, across the board. All ripe but balanced, showing great varietal character yet dense and concentrated, clearly built for aging.
2007 Stratus Sauvignon Blanc: grassy, herbal nose, deep colour; the 100% new oak shows on the creamy palate, very round and weighty; could mistake this for a (good) dry white Bordeaux
2007 Stratus Cabernet Franc: nice dark colour, graphite minerality, round and elegant palate; soft, fine tannins, good length; a beautiful wine
2007 Stratus Red: ripe fruit, round, structured with good balance
2007 Stratus Cabernet Sauvignon: dark, smoky bouquet, round and fruit forward; soft but linear structure
2007 Stratus Petit Verdot: lots of graphite minerality, slightly green, tense and almost hard; acidity provides great structure on the finish; very interesting interpretation of this varietal
2009 Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling: what I came here for; well chilled, absolutely steel on the nose, minerals and all that; so pure and fresh, acid rises so angular on the finish; extraordinarily complex yet with a transparency on the palate that articulates how stunningly beautiful riesling is; long, extracted acidity on the finish
What a great tasting. The CB riesling is magnificent. He's made wine from another vineyard, to be released in a few months - look out for it. Before they run out, as production of the 2009 was almost half of the already miniscule 2008 . . . order a case. I'm so sick of this bullshit about people complaining how Niagara doesn't make real wine. Or even worse, people who get so turned on by a trip to wine country that they claim any $8 plonk is great. When true great wine like CB Picone Riesling is being produced, you have to support it. No excuses.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
I want to say that white Spanish wines are treasures, but they really aren't. They are, however, very satisfying - just never particularly interesting. Like this one. Clean and bright and all, but lacks a certain energy I want in young wines. Albariño can be a fascinating grape, but it seems that no one's really pushing to make it stand out. And dry! It has to be dry to work, with a certain amount of extract.
This run of Spanish wines has been a bit forgettable.
Monday, July 4, 2011
2004 Lar de Paula Reserva, DOCa Rioja
2007 Vega Moragana Viñas Viejas, DO Ribera del Júcar