Tag Archives: riesling

W(h)ining: Aromatic Whites and a Toast to the Spring Season

25 Mar

I was delighted to pour a flight of three aromatic white wines on Sunday to celebrate the first day of spring.  I was a bit apprehensive, though, that many of my tasting-bar customers would be less than excited by the offering of all white, off-dry wines.  But the intense fragrance and vibrant, mouthwatering, palate of wines poured from unassuming, Alsatian bottles, pleasantly surprised many folks who might normally shy away from this style of wine.

I’ve noticed that a majority of consumers drink only red, or very little white, and almost everyone, it seems, is afraid of a touch of sweetness in their wine.  I’m not sure if it’s the memory of sugary, flavourless, mass-produced American White Zinfandel circa 1980, or the surprisingly explosive sweetness of that first sip of quality icewine, but it seems to me there is a general reluctance to try off-dry, or, as many people mistakenly call them, ‘sweet’ wines.  An off-dry wine, unlike a sweet wine such icewine, late harvest wine, or port, has just a touch of residual sugar, and, if made to my liking, a good amount of mouthwatering  acidity to balance the sweetness; indeed, this is precisely the difference between an exquisite off-dry Gewürztraminer, and an unpalatably cloying wine of the 80s blush variety.  Acidity in off-dry wine is kind of like a squeeze of lemon in a recipe; it brightens the flavours of the wine, adds a bit of tartness to balance the sweetness, and provides a clean finish to a round palate.

Now, to answer the obvious question I’ve neglected thus far:  What is an aromatic wine?  Wines that are considered ‘aromatic’ exhibit an intense nose, or fragrance, of flowers, fruit, and spices that come from the grape itself, Vinification, by contrast, or the winemaker’s tinkering, produces what we call the bouquet rather than the aroma of the wine.  The bouquet of a Syrah might exhibit characteristics of vanilla and smoke from the oak barrels it is aged in, for example, and its aroma might show luscious black fruit and white pepper.

Some wine varieties (or grapes) considered aromatic are Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muscat, and Pinot Blanc, although wines from these grapes do not always exhibit the intense nose characteristic of an aromatic wine, and sometimes wines can be aromatic even if they’re not made from grapes that are typically considered ‘aromatic.’

The wines I poured on Sunday, however, were all exceptional examples of aromatic wines, and perfect for welcoming the spring season, with their bright aromas of fresh fruit and flowers. Continue reading

Wine and Food Pairing: Sushi

9 Jun

from: http://www.everythingwine.ca/blog

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!

Dr. Loosen Rieslings

9 May

Ürziger Würzgarten Vineyard (The Spice Garden of Ürzig)

Ürziger Würzgarten Vineyard (The Spice Garden of Ürzig)

Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2007
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
$29.99 BCLS, Everything Wineloosen ws kabinett

The blue slate soils of the incredibly steep Wehlener Sonnenuhr Vineyard in Mosel add distinct minerality to its wines. The intense nose of Loosen’s WS Kabinett shows lime zest, grapefruit, honey, slate and peach juice. The palate is off-dry, with lots of citrus and zingy acidity. Pair this low-alcohol (7.5%) wine with all kinds of rich and spicy German fare. 90 points

Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese 2007
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany

$41.99 BCLS, Everything Wineloosen uw spatlese

From the “Spice Garden of Ürzig” comes this delicious late-picked Riesling. Its intense nose shows floral aromas, tropical fruit, mineral and clover honey. Richer and more concentrated on the palate, with passionfruit, mango and a distinct spicy kick, followed by mouthwatering acidity. 92 points

V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 7}

3 Apr
condesa de leganza crianza tempranillo 2004: great richness and concetration for <$20

condesa de leganza crianza tempranillo. great wine. change back from your twenty.

download issue 7.pdf

Issue seven of vino valore takes a trip to the Old World. Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal are all producing some incredible wines at budget-friendly prices. Even France is getting in on value-for-dollar action. This issue compiles a few wines that offer complexity, concentration and uniqueness – and most give you change back from your twenty. Cheers!

~Joe Corkscrew

download issue 7.pdf

please note, issue seven is extra long!  print on legal sheet.

V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 6}

20 Mar
The 2008 releases from JoieFarm are out now, but won't last long!

The 2008 releases from JoieFarm are out now, but won't last long!

download issue 6.pdf

Issue six of vino valore is all-BC. I was lucky enough to taste a selection of the 2008 offerings from JoieFarm recently, and I’ve summed up that tasting for you. I’ve also included a few BC Best Buys from recent tastings. Spring is here: time for some fresh local wines. Cheers!

~Joe Corkscrew

download issue 6.pdf

please note, issue six is extra long!  print on legal sheet.

V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 5}

6 Mar
joe attended the california wine fair march 3 in vancouver

joe attended the california wine fair march 3 in vancouver

download issue 5.pdf

Issue five of vino valore has a double-focus: the great-value wines of Chile and the premium offerings of California. I’ve assembled some recent tasting notes from some standout Chilean reds under $20 and summed up highlights of the California Wine Fair, held March 3rd in Vancouver. Cheers!

~Joe Corkscrew

download issue 5.pdf

please note, issue five is extra long!  print on legal sheet.

Four More Whites

22 Jan

Church and State Wines Viognier 2007church-and-state
VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
$24.90 Winery Direct

Beautiful and intensely floral nose followed by a creamy peach palate. Some malolactic fermentation adds to the richness. Best BC Viognier I’ve tasted to date. Former Burrowing Owl winemaker Bill Dyer has contributed to a greatly improved portfolio at Church and State, now boasting an impressive range of primarily Okanagan-grown offerings. 89 points – Very Good


Anakena Single Vineyard Riesling 2006
Maule Valley, Chile
$16.99 Everything Wine

Nice concentration and Riesling character, with lime, honey, petrol and crisp acidity. A touch of alcoholic heat and an abrubt finish. 84 points – OK


Domaine de Chaberton Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2007
VQA British Columbia
$16.49 Winery Direct

A bright, fruity nose with peach and honey aromas. The palate is crisp and simple, but pleasant. 84 points – OK


Henry’s Drive Vignerons Pillar Box White 2006
Padthaway, Australia
$13.99 Everything Wine, BC Liquor Stores (delisted)

A blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdelho. Recently reduced from $16.99 and all but sold out in BC. Granny Smith apple, citrus and spicy oak. Not a bad little white for the (new) price, but not really worth seeking out. 82 points – OK

Kilikanoon Tasting

15 Jan

Recently, I had the opportunity to taste a fine selection of wines from Clare Valley producer Kilikanoon with Director/Winemaker Kevin Mitchell. Here are a few notes:

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Blacket’s Vineyard Riesling 2004

Eden Valley, Australia

$29.99 Everything Wine, BC Liquor Stores

I’ve never been a big advocate of Aussie Riesling. Most are too fat or too alcoholic and lack the finesse of the best from other regions of the world. With nearly four years in the bottle, I expected this Kilikanoon offering to be fat, unbalanced and lacking in fruit. Boy, was I wrong! The intense nose leaps out of the glass with lots of lime, flinty-stone, honey and petrol aromas. The palate is bright and crisp, with limeade, orange marmalade and a touch of mature-Riesling kerosene. A very nice, well-balanced Aussie Riesling that drinks younger than it’s age. 89 points – Very Good

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prodigal_grenache_nv283

Prodigal Grenache 2004

Clare Valley, Australia

$35.99 Everything Wine, BC Liquor Stores

The ’04 Prodigal is a rich, mature Grenache with a lovely brick-red hue in the glass. Aromas of red berries, both fresh and dried, dominate the nose, but notes of earth, licorice and strawberry hard candy all add to the complexity. The mouthfeel is rich and soft with sweet cherry, perfume and peppery spice. A long, warm finish reveals mild tannins and moderate acidity. Bigger and richer than I expected, and the 15% alcohol is well integrated. 91 points – Excellent

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Medley GSM 2004

Clare Valley, Australia

$35.99 Everything Wine, BC Liquor Stores

The proprietary blend of Grenache (50%), Syrah (40%) and Mourvedre (10%) displays an intense nose of black fruits, fruit leather, and smoky meat. The palate is rich and full with blackberry, herbs, chocolate and spice. Great balance of fruit, acid, soft tannins and integrated 15% alcohol. 90 points – Excellent

* * * * *

Killerman’s Run Shiraz 2005

Clare Valley, Australia

$24.99 Everything Wine, BC Liquor Stores

The largest-production of the Kilikanoon portfolio has a super-intense nose with tons of cassis and licorice spice. The voluptuous palate has concentrated black fruits and silky tannins. Classic Aussie fruit bomb with finesse. 89 points – Good Value