Archive | January, 2010

Movie Monday…

25 Jan

To break the gray sky and drizzle, a little wine sunshine for your Monday. One of my favourite wine enthusiasts and another of my favourite car junkies from Top Gear join a Brit as they sip — and eat — their way through a wine tasting. Cheers!

Ban the Beer…

24 Jan

Please consider the following for my argument towards leaving the overplayed bottle of beer in the fridge on football Sundays and picking up a glass of wine instead:

  1. With the Drink Matcher Widget at wine enthusiast Natalie MacLean’s website – there’s no reason why your platters can’t pair with your bottles. The look on someone’s face when they dig into some chicken wings with a demi-sec Champagne or oomphy Cabarnet Sauvignon is priceless. Bending the rules is the best part of wine drinking.
  2. You can listen to Ben Folds Five case on the matter.
  3. Wine and football crossovers. From Cowboys retiree Drew Bledsoe, Super Bowl legend Joe Montana to the Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson, these guys are creating great wine. Woodson created Twenty Four Winery in the Napa Valley a few years back. The result? Woodson Wines that are as persistent, assertive and downright fabulous as he is.
  4. Matching bottles with teams is a hoot. For a 49’ers game – a crisp and clean Sauvignon Blanc from California. For the New York Giants – a very grapey Mogen David Concord by Franzia Brothers Winery (LCBO Vintages #611186, $12.95). For the Washington Redskins – a boisterous Cabernet Sauvignon.
  5. How frickin adorable is this bottle decoration by Occupation Gifts?

Battle of the Chardonnays…

19 Jan

Last night I uncorked two bottles of Chardonnay that were listed on the Vines Magazine InterVin Awards Best Buys list. As I was limited in selection because of my local LCBO, I wasn’t able to taste all 30 great valued bottles. However, I did manage to drink my way through both an Italian and Canadian Chardonnay.

Up first was the Cesari Chardonnay from Veneto, Italy ($7.45, LCBO Item #572461). The first thing I noticed was the price tag. I’m a student and pride myself on finding the “Big Three” in a bottle – under 10 bucks, Canadian and screw-cap. This wine was batting one out of three, but had the most important one going for it – price.

From the get-go, there was something right on the tip of your tongue. It’s ineffable, though the review in Vines identified it as “a subdued almost/nutty character”. That’s why they’re the pros.

I thought it was simply delicious, tangy and juicy. I found it extremely easy to drink, as I generally find most Chards to be unbearable oaky. Wasn’t super sweet, despite it’s berry smell. I think it would be great on a patio in the middle of summer, with grilled white fish on your plate, and watermelon for dessert. It’s as clean and clear as sun kissed water. Refreshing.

Next up was the Inniskillin Wine Varietal Series 2007 Chardonnay from Niagara ($10.95, LCBO Item # 066266). I love buying Canadian, so that was a check mark on the “Big Three”, but came up just over the ten dollar mark. Still an unbelievably good price.

First of all, I much prefer unoaked Chardonnays like this one. It’s smoky without tasting like I just licked the inside of the barrel. Vines Magazine pointed out ripe fruit, and I can definitely taste the apple.

I’d sit down to a big glass of this with some Fettucine Alfredo and a great crusty loaf from the French bakery downtown.

This wine is creamier, more grown up and developed that the Cesari. Even the bottles seem like the Inniskillin is the older, more responsible sister to the Cesari’s early twenties ‘figuring myself out’ stage.

All in all, I liked both bottles, though I’d drink them on very separate occasions. I think they’re both excellent value and I can’t wait to taste a few more from the list.

I hope you’ll try one or both and let the Corkscrew know what you think about these delightful Chardonnays.


Diving into wine…

19 Jan

Those who know me know that I love to entertain. From coming up with unique party themes, to planning a menu of delicious treats to creating a signature drink – when there is a crowd to host, I’m in my element.

This innate need to please and entertain people is definitely genetic. My mother is one of those women who still makes a big breakfast for her kids every Sunday morning – even if instead of giggly group of three children with the smiles plastered on their faces bigger than the ones on the chocolate chip smiley-faced pancakes, she’s now serving a hungover crowd of nine who can’t stand the sight of orange juice without vodka in it. God bless her, she makes five types of pie at Easter. But, most importantly, she has a wine cellar stocked with enough bottles to make a small-town LCBO blush.

From her, I not only inherited this love of cooking, providing and the trick to making a dreamy chocolate martini, but also a love of wine.

I’ve drank wine in many forms (including out of a box taped to my hand at a rookie party – big mistake) over the years, but haven’t really considered diving deeper until more recently.

I can’t really remember what kicked it off, but somewhere between fawning over the Vintages section in the LCBO, taste testing bottles I’d read about in industry magazines and recommending pairings to friends it struck me – I was in love with wine.

It’s true. I love snooping shelves for a perfect bottle to match with dinner, or heck, even popcorn. I love wine-indulgent movies like Sideways. I love flipping through glossy magazines and staring at the beautiful glassware and all that it contains. I love wine tours, finding out about little secrets from the winemakers and seeing the grapes on the vines. I just love it all.

So, you can consider this my official start into the world of wine. I’m diving in head first and hoping to find out more about my favourite subject at dinner parties. I want to learn, absorb and spread the wine love and I hope you’ll join me on this journey with my corkscrew in hand.

To end, here’s a quote from William Sokolin.

“What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile.”