Archive for September, 2011

Cowan Cellars Announces First Release

With much anticipation, Cowan Cellars has announced its first release. Way to go, Jim and Diane!!  We wish you both much success in this and upcoming releases.

The wines are:

2010 Isa (skin-fermented white)
2010 Pinot Noir, Bennett Valley
2010 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast.

You can read about these wines on here.

You can read a little about the history behind these wines here.

You may purchase these wines here.

Alan Kerr’s ghetto sous vide machine adventure

Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, getting to the next several Vintages tastings will be problematic for me.  Therefore in the interim period, I intend to scribe about some of the foods I like to play around with and talk about how some of the wines I’ve had worked particularly well with the finished dish.  CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE

I change my approach to cooking often. I read a book that allures me and I am off to wherever to procure the ingredients required. Which I might add is part of the fun! Right now, Korean food rocks my world, or at least it impacts a lot of what I do in my kitchen.  Reading David Chang’s insightful cookbook Momofuku has clearly had an impact on me. I love flavour balance, and Chang has a masterful ability to blend flavours with the precision of an alchemist.

A few weeks ago on now quite frequent trips to a certain New York State supermarket  I came across a well aged prime grade hanger steak. Ask for this cut in a Canadian store and one mostly gets a look of complete non comprehension.

The usual treatment of such a prized protein is to pop it in a marinade, sear it on the grill and slice it rare. Nothing wrong sticking to the tried and true, but I wanted to play around and do something different. Having used a heat circulator at school, I decided to construct one at home, saving the thousand dollars plus price tag on the real McCoy. My ghetto sous vide machine was composed of a large pot of water, an extremely low setting on my stove, Styrofoam and a digital thermometer. With a quick stir now and then, the water temperature remained constant within two degrees for the forty five minute cooking time. Read the rest of this entry »

Six from the Perrin Family

We’re always happy to taste new offerings from the Perrin family of Château Beaucastel fame, as they rarely fail to satisfy. We weren’t at all disappointed with the six we tried most recently, and here’s the full Rhône-down.

2010 La Vieille Ferme Luberon Blanc, 13% alc.: Perhaps the most appealing La Vieille Ferme Blanc bottling we’ve yet tasted, showing clean, medium color and offering pretty white peach, lanolin and mineral flavors and aromas. Full bodied, with good cut and length, this pairs well with a variety of chicken and seafood dishes. Find this wine

2010 Perrin & Fils Côtes du Rhône Réserve Blanc, 13.5% alc.: Clean, medium color, with mineral-driven white tree fruit character; deceptively soft and a bit fat, but with enough acids to work nicely with pounded, pan-fried chicken breast. Full bodied, with good length; rich and satisfying, as it opens with air and warms in the glass. A blend of Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne. Temperature-controlled fermentation in tanks; aged in stainless-steel tanks. Find this wine
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A TCA Mystery

We’ve had a very odd, but interesting experience this week. The telling takes a few turns, but stick with me here, it’ll all makes sense at the end, or will it…?

During the course having new water pipes installed in our basement, I had to empty out all the wine that we keep in our makeshift cellar, which is also the room where our water meter is. We now keep our wine in wooden cases or on racks, as we’ve graduated from those cardboard cases that used to populate “the cellar from hell.” One of the cases was a 6-pack that carried a half dozen 1998 Sena Red Wines that we purchased well over 10 years ago. Those wines are long gone; we enjoyed them all, and never detected any kind of taint in any of them. Since the case itself was still functional, about three years ago, we put five bottles of red wine in it for safe storage from a producer who has sometimes been accused of producing corked wine.

As I was putting the cellar back together a few days ago, I noticed the unmistakable odor of TCA emanating from the box, so I took the five bottles out, put them on the wine rack and took the box outside. I let Kim take a whiff (she’s even more sensitive to corked wine than I am), and she recoiled in disgust, as I knew she would. I put the box over by our shed about 50 feet from the back deck, and over the next few days, we both noticed that not only could we smell the taint when the wind was blowing in the right direction, but also that it seemed to get worse, just like corked wine that “opens” in the glass after it’s poured.
Read the rest of this entry »

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