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What Joe’s Digging: Aussie Grenache

6 Feb

Grenache Noir grapes

Every so often I get on these kicks where I get a bit obsessive about a particular grape or region or producer.  These days I can’t get enough Grenache. More specifically, I’ve been sipping a number of Australian Grenache wines – and enjoying them quite a bit.

While not considered a “Noble” variety, Grenache is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world and an integral part of wines from the Southern Rhone, especially Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas.  Grenache is also widely planted in Spain, where its known both as Garnacha and as Alicante, and also pops up in Italy as Cannonau.  Australia is the only New World wine region where Grenache has taken a serious hold, and where some of the world’s best examples are now produced.

In the glass, Aussie Grenache wines often take the appearance of Pinot Noir: pale strawberry-red with subtle violet hues.  Aromas, too, lean towards the light, and delicate.  Bright red berry, floral notes and hard candy are common.  The palate, however, is another story: big, rich mouthfeel is commonplace, and alcohol contents above 14% is the rule.  This dichotomy is what currently attracts me to these wines.  Light, bright and elegant for summer barbeques, but with enough fullness and complexity to stand up to grilled meats and the hardcore red-wine drinkers that eat the grilled meats. Continue reading


Wine and Food Pairing: Sushi

9 Jun


Three words best describe summer dining: light, fresh, and delicious. For me, nothing satisfies these criteria better than a casual lunch on the patio of my favourite local sushi joint. After a quick glance at the menu, I’ve decided on an assortment of nigiri sushi and cucumber rolls. But the question remains: what to wash it down with?

read more of my first blog post for EW!

Libation of Liberty II: White House Wines

16 Jan

inauguration_page_380x133Barack Obama’s inaugural lunch menu, complete with wine pairings, has been released.  Once again, Californian winieries are in the spotlight, with the Duckhorn Wine Company emerging the big winner. Read more of yesterday’s Reuters article.

Here’s a quick rundown of the three course menu:

Seafood stew with lobster, scallops, shrimp and cod
Duckhorn Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($43.99 Everything Wine)
Duck and pheasant, sour cherry chutney and molasses sweet potatoes
Duckhorn’s Goldeneye Pinot Noir 2005 ($89.99 Everything Wine)
Apple cinnamon sponge cake
Korbel Natural “California Champagne” (not available in BC)

Trefethen Walnuts

10 Jan

trefethen-walnuts-iiTrefethen Family Vineyards Estate Grown Walnuts 2008

Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley

Complimentary (thanks, Jeff)

Yes, Joe likes wine. That’s kind of a given. But you may not know that Joe likes all kinds of other stuff, especially when it’s food. And gratis. So, Joe was very happy to accept some delicious fresh walnuts from Trefethen winery in Napa. Yes, winery-grown walnuts. Plenty of walnuts grown in Napa Valley. In fact, walnuts were the primary agricultural crop of Napa in the 1960s. These particular nuts are rich and buttery, with that distinct walnut tannin. Sweet and smoky and not at all bitter. Outstanding nuts. That’s right.