Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
You imagine wine, and the entire idea of wine, as an old stodgy European thing. If this is true, then summer is the period when this fat man throws off his robes, dons a Speedo and heads to the riviera. Summer is a great period for wine, because people are less concerned about the artifice of wine when they’re sipping it along with a piece of grilled chicken or watching the sun set from their deck. And two, wines of summer themselves aim to reflect the idea of summer, with crisper flavors, whiffs of fruit, and bubbles. Bubbles! Here are my picks for the best summer wines.
2009 Mouton Cadet Bordeaux Blanc
This wine has bright flavors of peach and grapefruit. There are also notes of hazelnut and a finish that alludes to blossoms and floral scents. The lower alcohol content of this wine is great for sipping in the sun, say by the pool or on a beach. Cook up a nice chicken salad or scallops, and you’ll be set; if you’re feeling lazy, go for brie and crackers.
Col Vetoraz Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut
Prosecco is the cooler little brother of Champagne, not quite so uptight and not worried about what everyone thinks. This $17 bottle has complex flavors and isn’t overshadowed by the sparklers you may be used to. The palate is citrus-y, and it goes down easy for excellent hot-weather thirst quenching. The flavor also suggests minerals, adding a deeper note to the fruity overtones. Try this wine with foods that have a little tang; for example, you could whip up a green salad with pomegranate seeds, or even just dip some bread in olive oil and balsamic.
2009 Chivite Gran Fuedo Rosado
This Spanish rosé basically screams “summer.” It’s cheap, and you may have already spotted the slender bottle on the shelves of your supermarket. Don’t pass it up just because it looks like pink lemonade; this dry wine is light as a feather, with a fruity palate suggesting strawberries and peaches. The taste is clean and cool. Need cooking inspiration? This rosé pairs particularly well with fish; throw a few salmon fillets on the grill and you’re set. Grilled veggie skewers of fingerling potatoes and garlic cloves would also make a great pairing. If you’re in the mood to learn more about beverages and beverage pairing, you can also check out the degree programs at Guide to Online Schools.
67 Wine (2012)DF
What does it mean to be traditional? For instance, what does it mean that a wine was 'traditionally-made'? I have a suspicion that it's once again a cheap generalization that preys on a consumer's ignorance to sell wine, but let's humour them for a bit.
Antonio Galloni, who covers Italian wines for the Wine Advocate, wrote that Readers who enjoy traditionally made wines will flip out over Mori’s Chianti in 2008. But what is a traditional Chianti? Is there such thing anymore? Wine, more than anything, is an expression of traditions and heritage, but like all things, its only constant is change. As the great Paul Pontallier (estate manager of Château Margaux) says, with every gesture, there is a margin of progress. Would the winemaker who made Giacomo Mori's first vintage recognize today's wine? Perhaps. But maybe we need to think more carefully before we assign the word traditional to a wine.
The wine was wonderful. Not the most elegant, nor the most impactful, but pure and linear, showing great varietal character. It's the humility of the wine that's most striking . . . singing of sangiovese that could come from nowhere else in the world but this particular place in this particular country.
I'm fucking exhausted.
No one said it would be easy, but I'm getting my ass handed to me by the GMAT material. The good news is that I've finished reading all the books. Now the real work begins. Exam booked for the end of May, so there is no way out of it now. I learned the hard way that (a few) shots of bourbon before going to bed doesn't make you sleep better. Quite the opposite in fact - that was one of the most fitful nights of sleep I've ever had. But the bourbon was, surprisingly, delicious. What better way to learn about something than just to drink right?
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
That's boring, and doing a disservice to such an amazing ingredient. So you leave the prepwork to the Japanese, and the actual cooking to the Chinese.
We do a simple, classic Shanghainese soup, with dried seaweed, a bit of kelp, sesame oil, and dried shrimp.
Boil off the dried shrimp very quickly. Add in your dried seaweed and kelp. Add a drizzle of sesame oil and then season - never the other way around.
Boil until the seaweed hydrates and softens, then serve immediately. Too much heat and you will lose flavour and texture. As with all great things, timing is the key element of it all.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
It's called Miso zuke, hunks of salmon cured in miso paste. My mother visited Tsukiji Fish Market while she was in Tokyo, and my aunt bought a few different kinds of dried and cured fishes for me to taste. This particular example is fresh salmon, immediately marinated in miso paste. The miso contributes flavour, of course, but also firms out the texture; it also helps to render out some of that fat. Roasted in the oven, its savoury with fabulous texture, showing a lot of sweetness as well. A fascinating way to eat fish.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Street food is dying in Shanghai. There seems to be a real stigma against being seen eating from a cart, which is a terrible tragedy because some of my fondest memories of going back home was my grandfather taking me out to his favourite breakfast stall in the mornings, to buy all kinds of steamed buns. The lady would see him, pull him aside, and give him the ones fresh out of the steamer. It was really special, and something I think often about.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
The Japanese call these harusame. Unlike Chinese glass noodles which are made from mung bean starch, these are produced using potato starch, and the noodles are mainly used in hotpot or sukiyaki style dishes. Amazing how the same idea can take so many different forms. Do they taste any better than the Chinese noodles? That may be a matter of personal opinion; it may be more suitable to think of them as different ingredients for different purposes.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
2009 Colaneri Estate Winery Corposo | VQA Niagara Peninsula
Does wine-making style ever (or rather, often and in the majority of cases) supersede terroir? Attending a tasting hosted by Colaneri Estate Winery certainly changed my assumption about how wine styles can alter the perception of what a wine's true character is.
It's all about perspective, isn't it. In this case, Andrej was clearly onto something when he decided that making a cabernet wine (50/50 cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon) in the ripasso style would be a success. And it was. In a vintage that yielded some inconsistency, this particular method helped concentrate everything. In Andrej's hands, this wine retained a wonderful freshness and purity, showing beautiful earthiness and a well-extracted palate. With controlled alcohol, this was a genuinely exciting Niagara cabernet.
So is our initial assessment fair? It's become such an utterly useless phrase, this let's let the land speak for itself. Bullshit. What's in the bottle isn't the vineyard. It is what the winemaker interprets the vineyard to be, using this particular varietal, in this particular vintage. In the right hands, true character will always shine. In the New World at least, any suggestion that this is how the wines should be made is pure fallacy.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Tea is like wine in so many gustatorial ways, but above all, it cannot simply satisfy a physiological need (namely, thirst); tea has to evoke something beyond simply smell and taste. As distinct as Chablis is from the Sonoma Coast, ryokucha is unique not just because of processing method, but because of place of origin. Truly fine ryokucha is a textural experience, creating a sensation reminiscent of rolling clouds and grainy hot spring sludge. It possesses formidable tannins, all the while remaining vibrant and fresh. All this, from a single passing of (just under boiling temperature) water.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
. . . always taste the best. The Japanese can really do it all - these blended brandies are extraordinary. Pure and vibrant, with the most amazing sweetness/oak nuttiness. Just all love, perfuming my room, perfuming it all.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Monday, March 5, 2012
I recently had a chance to eat at Le Sélect Bistro again, after what seems like a long, long time. It's always interesting to visit a place for both lunch and dinner; many, surprisingly, don't show that necessary consistency, making it feel like eating at two separate restaurants. This establishment is anything but. They want to create a sort of neighbourhood bistro feel here, a sort of Parisian escape in downtown Toronto. Decor and atmosphere certainly feels like it, but really, all it takes is enough money. The real (and only) thing that matters is food and service, and for this night at least, both were satisfied.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Clearly under the influence of the lovely Miss Peng . . . his name is Eugène.
The Japanese, among many other things they do well, have a really interesting take on menswear. They do that whole WASPy, East Coast intellectual thing, but what I really admire is the importance they place on all the subtle things that don't necessarily stand out. Of course, under the pretense of being fashion-y, they also have an incredibly effete and affected interpretation of how you, and you, and you should be dressing. Am I naive (or slightly old-fashioned) for thinking that men should dress (and look) like men, and women, women?
They, however, are absolutely spot-on with the accoutrements. Simplicity is kind of key because personally, I don't think men should accessorize beyond a watch and maybe a ring. Obviously . . . no bracelet, necklace, or any dangling bits. But when work requires a suit, I really like wearing a tie clip. Keeps it all neat and tucked in, you see; it's terribly rude to be flapping out when you shake a client's hand. And when not at work, but the occasion calls for a blazer? I really, really like lapel pins. It's a personal thing, a little bit of magic below the neck, above the heart.
My mother bought these for me from Tokyo. She thinks Eugène is a bit morbid. I think he's a rockstar.