People often say that a picture is worth a thousand words. (Some of these same folks also like to tell me that I talk too much.) So, this week, I will try to let the photos speak for themselves.
Yesterday my friends over at Triple B Ranches and Vesper Vineyards graciously invited me to help out with the crush. I tried to keep my camera out of their faces and to not eat too many grapes. (They were tasty, but the wine will be even better!)
It was ‘back in the day’, as they say, in 1998 that I first visited Navarra in Spain. At the time I was working as sommelier at Oxo Tower Restaurant on London’s South Bank and I had already visited Spain a couple of times, but was in the process of getting into the wines from Navarra. I listed the wines from leading bodegas of the region such as Chivite, Guelbenzu and Ochoa and was soon acquiring a taste and enthusiasm for their distinctive flavour and character. This historic region, famed for agricultural produce, mainly rosado wines and the legendary ‘running of the bulls’ in Pamplona, was always in the shadow of its neighbour – Rioja. What immediately struck me though on becoming familiar with these wines, was that they tasted a little bit different, almost “Bordeaux-like” with good definition, varietal character and expression. I soon became fond of them and going on that trip was an amazing experience.
Dirty and Rowdy Family Wines is the newest label in Napa (or was until John started slapping labels on the Enfield Wine Co. Haynes Vineyard Syrah last night!), and if you’re into drinking the kind of wine that I am, it is undisputedly one of the best.
The wine is a partnership between two couples: DIRTY is Hardy and Kate, ROWDY is Matt and Amy. They all met while living in Atlanta – where Matt and Amy still reside – Hardy was working in tech and writing a wine blog called Dirty South Wine, while his buddy Matt was getting increasingly geeky about cooking as he worked on a blog called Rowdy Food. Their excitement about wine grew and grew and grew, and after Hardy and Kate relocated to Northern California, they decided to give it a go making their own wine. Man, am I happy they did.
I’m particularly passionate about the wines of Navarra. For me, this neighbouring region to the more famous and illustrious Rioja, produces top quality wines that just deserve to be discovered. Historically, the province of Navarra has become synonymous with the best agricultural produce, especially peppers, asparagus, tomatoes and lettuce that it is known as “The Garden of Spain“. In addition, another famous product of the region are the legendary ‘rosado‘ wines. In fact, these pink wines became so famous (almost like the iconic rose wines of Provence), that they soon took on the moniker of “wines of the people“. Navarra also produces some top-notch moscatel wines, with most winemakers’ preference and stylistic nod towards the fresh, floral and aromatic styles, as opposed to the unctuously sweet and raisiny wines from Andalusia.
I was asked recently, “What is an example of a classic British Columbia wine?” This is indeed a fully-loaded question with numerous answers. But when I think classic wine from our province, there is no denying that one wine always crosses my mind… the Osoyoos Larose.
Osoyoose Larose Le Grand Vin 2004
This is an exceptional, award-winning Canadian wine made, with quality in mind, from classic Bordeaux varietals. The grapes are grown in the unique terroir of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. The winery itself is an inspired partnership between Groupe Taillan of France and Vincor Canada (which now is under Constellation Brands), a partnership born in 1998. They believed that the exceptional growing conditions and the use of Bordeaux winemaking expertise would enable them to produce an award-winning fine wine. And they were right! Continue reading →
There are certain wines I’ve tried that I’m sure I’ll never forget. They stand out among the rest and that is why, when I think about them, I can still see myself there holding up the glass to smell the first notes.
One of these wines is the Clos Marguerite Sauvignon Blanc, which I drank for the first time at the Cornershop Bistro near Sumner Beach in Christchurch, New Zealand. Clos Marguerite Winery is the fruit of the dream of Jean-Charles Van Hove and Marguerite Dubois who, after marrying in Belgium, decided they wanted to find a place in the New World to make their own wine.
Kanonkop Wine Estate is a fourth generation winery, situated on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain in the Stellenbosch Region of the Cape, South Africa. It falls into the ward of Simonsberg, commonly referred to as the “red wine bowl” of South Africa” because of its soil and microclimates which lend themselves most to the production of red wines. Kanonkop is known first and foremost for its excellent Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut which is truly unique to South Africa.
In the following interview, Debra Meiburg speaks with Kanonkop co-owner Johann Krige, about history of the winery as well as the climate of the region it is situation in. Johann describes the reasons behind why the region is so ideal for the production of red wines, as well as how Stellenbosch differs from other wine producing regions of South Africa. He also explains to Debra what Pinotage is exactly, and recounts a very accurate 2 sentence description of it, which was once scribbled onto the wall of one of their cellars.
Brokenwood Wines, located in Australia’s sunny Hunter Valley, about 2 hours north of Sydney, has a truly interesting history. It was founded by three Sydney-based solicitors who paid a then record price of $970 per acre for a 10-acre piece of land in Brokenback Ranges, a block which was originally planned to be turned into a cricket ground. The land was planted then with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, but since then it has produced a wide array of premium quality wines, sourced from ‘all the right regions, for all the right reasons’, from the Graveyard Shiraz to the Cricket Pitch Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and Cricket Pitch Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. To see the full map of the Brokenwood Wines regions, check out the Brokenwood Wines Regional Wine Map from their website!
It is safe to say that only one person at Vinexpo 2012 was sporting a tiara. The German Wine Princess, Elisabeth Born. The German Wine Princess (or Princesses, as there can be up to three elected and crowned each year) is a representative of the German Wine Queen (also appointed annually), who travels the world, attending wine fairs and celebrations, meetings and conferences, educating wine lovers about the variety and quality of German wines and acting a royal mascot for the industry.
We spoke about the quality of German wines and the success that they have had in the Asian markets. We also briefly discussed the signing of the Declaration of Intent on Co-operation in Wine-related Business between Hong Kong and Germany, an agreement which will facilitate the co-operation between the two countries in wine fairs and exhibitions, education, tourism, storage and auctioneering. Elisabeth let me in on one of her favorite pairings of Asian food and German wine, two characters which harmonize very well with each other in her opinion.
Mr. Andrew Wong and Mr. Peter Bleser at the Signing of the Declaration of Intent on Co-operation in Wine-related Business between Hong Kong and Germany