Kerri Henman - winesconstantly.ca

Archive for the ‘Favourites’ Category

Favourites,Wine

December 13, 2010

Vino Volo saved me from an assault charge….

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No, really.  They did!!!

OK, so we all know that “service industry” is becoming a misnomer.  Nowhere was this more apparent than on a recent flight with Delta Airlines.  We were late leaving Toronto, en route to Orlando, via Detroit.  When we got to Detroit, there was a mad dash from one terminal to the other, trying to make the connection.  NOW – sense would have deemed that Delta ask the gate agents to hold the connection.  Or, I don’t know, let the gate know that we were coming – at a run – to make the flight.  But NO.  Nooooo, six of us got to the gate, to see the plane still there, but they had shut the doors, and would not let us board because, as we were told, “We knew your plane had landed, but we didn’t know if you were coming straight here.”
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Favourites,Wine

January 20, 2008

Surprise, surprise …

OK, yes, part of the surprise is that I’m posting!

But the ‘surprise’ topic of this posting is really that it is about some lovely wines I discovered over the holidays. I was surprised by a few products – by their price points, by a supplier that I usually avoid like the plague, and by the reaction garnered by one lovely little sparkler.

I’ll start with the bubbly – always good to kick things off with bubbles!

You’ve probably seen the ads all over for Fresita – a strawberry-flavoured prosecco. It’s fun; it’s more like pop than wine, but it doesn’t cross the line into candy. Fresita is light and fruity – tastes like *real* strawberry, not fake strawberry – and it’s so refreshing. I really hope this sticks around for summer, because it will become a staple for the backyard. It’s $13.95 a bottle …. great value, highly drinkable.

I attended an ‘after hours’ sale at Club Monaco (yay, cashmere!), and they were offering sparkling wine as refreshment. And yes, shopping with bubbles does make it SO much more fun! Usually, the wine offered at these events is not great, so I was quite surprised by my first sip. It was really lovely! It was Bottega Vino Dei Poeti Prosecco – only $12.95 a bottle!! Good complexity, just a tiny bit of yeast on the finish (which I love), and gorgeous fruit flavours. Crisp apple mostly, with a bit of pear, and some subtle ‘white fruit’ notes in the mid-palate (could be lychee?). This is the kind of bubbly you should always have in the house; either to make visitors feel special, to celebrate Tuesday, or just to open on a Sunday morning because you feel like making Mimosas. Yummy.

And last – but not least!!!!! – one that caught my attention at the New Zealand Wine Fair in May…. Soljans Fusion Sparkling Muscat. I was given a glass at the wine fair, and the rep who did probably regrets it. It was all I wanted to drink that night. When it hit the shelves at Vintages, I was all over it! Muscat is a very rich, floral grape, and as a wine can be quite heavy. But when it sparkles – it’s so different; if you’ve ever had a sparkling ice wine, it’s closer to that than to your usual bubbly. The nose is rich, lush – it’s orange zest and a bit of clove, brushed with honey. That’s what you taste as well, with the bubbles keeping it from being too heavy or overpowering. The honey comes forward, and there’s a taste of golden delicious apple, but the orange zest gives the flavour a roundness that makes it an outstanding dessert wine. Sticky toffee pudding would LOVE this. Best part? I served it to someone who is notoriously difficult to please, and they loved it! Unequivocally; no ‘better if…’, no ‘it’s not as good as..’. None of that. Just “where do I get this?”. Yay! Sadly – that’s the bad news. It’s a Vintages product. There’s still some on the shelves, but it’s running out. Summerhill and Queen’s Quay are your best bets if you’re in Toronto; Mississauga and Waterloo are your only options outside of Toronto, with the exception of one lonely bottle at Bank & Walkley in Ottawa. It is available through consignment – Glen Ward Wines represents it here. At $18.95 a bottle, a case isn’t outrageous, especially if you share it with a friend.

Now – on to the whites!

Well, okay, one white ….. I stayed true to the faves over the season, for the most part – including indulging in a bottle of Mondavi Fume Blanc for a seafood feast on Christmas Eve. $24.95, but worth it! It was on Christmas Eve, actually, that I tried a new white from KWV. I’ve had KWV in the past, and generally avoid it. I am just not a fan. But waiting in line at the LCBO (yes, I was dumb enough to go to the LCBO on XMess Eve!), I spotted a KWN Chenin Blanc. Now, I love Chenin, I really do, but I wasn’t sure I loved it enough to give the KWV a try. At $7.90 a bottle, though, I figured Id give it a try.

I was SO pleasantly surprised!

It was all the things I love about Chenin – bright, fresh, citrusy, with some great lime notes. It was just so good … AND it’s a KWV! Shocker. Did I mention it’s only $7.90????

Reds had a few surprises in store, but one came with a dose of disappointment.

We opened a 1999 Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon on New Year’s Eve – served it with grilled loin of vension. OH WOW, it was good!! Lush, juicy, mouth-filling; nice tannic characgter that paired beautifully with the game. Loved it. The disappointment? Can’t get it any more. Sob!

We also opened two bottles of Casillero del Diablo Carmenere…. yummy yummy yummy! We had duck, horse and ostrich with it; the wine handled all of them really nicely. I though it went best with the ostrich; the sweetness of ostrich and the spiciness of the Carmenere were a great match. We’re definitely doing that again! At $12.95… we can afford to do it a LOT! The Carmenere is gorgeous. It’s got some great fruit character – blueberry and dark cherry, with just a hint of plum, and there’s some smoke and spice on the finish that adds interest and takes it out of the ordinary. I don’t think I’d open a bottle of this ‘just because’ – it’s really more of a food wine. But it’s a *good* food wine.

Speaking of food … I should go worry about dinner tonight ….!

Events,Favourites

January 10, 2007

Feel like going out?

So, I thought my first wine-y post would be a list of my favourites, but as I’m still compiling it, I offer instead a list of upcoming opportunities to find *your* new favourites!

First of all, if you’re in New York City, planning a trip to New York City, or looking for an excuse to go to New York City – well, you can’t miss these. Eight Mile Creek are hosting two fantastic wine tasting dinners.

The first, in honour of Australia Day (January 26), is “Advance Australia Fair”, a prix-fixe dinner celebration featuring home grown Aussie favourites like emu, kangaroo, barramundi, and ….. uhhhhhhh …… butter steamed balmain bugs?!?!?! OK, whatever they are, I’m sure Will can make them taste good!

The second event is February 8 – “Big Barossa Reds, the Peter Lehmann Way”. This is a unique opportunity to try superb wines from Australia and New Zealand, each paired with a select dish in a five-course tasting menu. They’re not all reds, though. The evening starts with a Semillon, and ends with Australia’s answer to icewine, a Botrytis Semillon (botrytis is “the noble rot”. It’s a fungus that grows on the grapes, partially dehydrating them. It concentrates the flavours, and adds an almost nutty characteristic to the finish.).

I went to a winemaker’s dinner at Eight Mile in April, and I can’t tell you how fantastic it was! The food, the atmosphere, the people – absolutely amazing from start to finish. If there’s any possible way you can get there – GO!!

For you locals – and I’m talking GTA, here! – there’s a great opportunity in January to check out good food, good wine, and beautiful art. The art even encompasses the wine – how cool is that?

Sarah Fogleman (aka Ellis Originals) uses wine labels to create really unique artwork. I *love* her stuff; I have a couple of cards, and one painting, but I’m looking to grow the collection. “Wild Wines Art” will be at the Queen Mother Café on Queen Street West until February 3rd. You should check it out. And buy a painting!! Hang it in the wine cellar …. or next to the wine rack …. or wherever …. just buy a painting!

All these can be found under the “Events” link to your right …. If you make it out to any of them, I’d love to hear about it!