Everything Wine And More

Locklin McDonald
February 13, 2018 | Locklin McDonald

Natural Wine: Nature as the Wine Maker.

The most excellent wine is one which has given pleasure by its own
natural qualities, nothing must be mixed with it which might obscure its
natural taste.”
(Lucius Junivs Columella, Roman agriculture writer. Born 4. A.D
                           Died 70 A.D.)

A growing interest in natural products is sweeping the world, from grains to leaf vegetables to fish and meats, less is better. The new kid on the block is “Natural Wine”. This blog will help you understand the process of making a true natural wine and offer specific ones to try and some food paring ideas.

The microbiological life of the vineyard is what enables both successful fermentation and the creation of the wine that is able to survive without technological crutch. Sustaining a healthy habitat in the vineyard for these microbes is fundamental for the “Natural Wine’ grower. The microbiological life follows the grapes into the winery, transforms the juice and even makes its way into the bottle. Natural wine is literally, living wine from living soil.

The concept of “Natural Wine is so new, that there is not as of yet a legal definition of what is or is not natural wine. Old world growers from France, Spain and Italy self-regulate charters of quality far stricter than regulations imposed by official organic or biodynamic certification bodies.France has the strictest self- imposed rules of all participating countries allowing no additives, even the yeast must be either air born or living on the grape skins. Some filtration is allowed, but not encourage. Simply put, Natural Wines use Mother Nature’s recipe with the guiding hand of a dedicated wine maker.

Try our newest Rose wine from Pierre- Olivier Bonhomme for only $22.99! His ‘KO’ 2015 Cab Franc / Gamay Rose from the Loire Valley is a Natural wine with light to medium bodied with notes of tobacco leaf, dark spice, white strawberries, dill and a hint of maritime saltiness. Pair with chilled salmon and goat cheese salad.


Time Posted: Feb 13, 2018 at 12:42 PM
Locklin McDonald
September 16, 2015 | Locklin McDonald

Conversations With My Wife: How This Married Man Pairs Food & Wine

My wife Deb and I had planned a dinner with friends visiting from the Okanagan. This blog is about the conversation that took place when we were thinking about the best food and wine pairings for the evening. I hope you enjoy and see how much thought goes into making sure your meal is a hit from start to finish.

Wine friends are always the best friends to cook for and share some of our paring choices. Deb and I decided on our appetizer first: pickled salmon wrapped in a fresh basil leaf then painted with lemon gelatin. I smiled and immediately thought to myself: Alsace dry Riesling, the Pierre Sparr reserve 2012 ($20.99) to be exact. That kiss of lemon drop moving quickly to bright lime / grapefruit tinged acidity trailing to a brief mouthwatering finish complementing the acidy and pungent aroma of the salmon and basil. She winked…”just what I was thinking."

When it came to the main course my wife turned to me and said “how about I pick the meal and you pick the wine." As always when my wife asked to do the main course, it means she is cooking and the baroque cover will not be coming off. In order to choose the right wine I needed to know “how are you preparing the tenderloin, dear?”
She replied, “Salt and pepper, a little olive oil, you know me, let the flavour of the meat be the star. I was thinking brown cap mushrooms with shallots and green peppercorn sautéed in butter with chardonnay and a table spoon of fresh whole cream just for that little sweetness.  For veggies...golden beets par-boiled, then oven roasted with apple cider vinegar drizzle infused with cilantro and thyme. Baked russet potatoes rubbed with salt and olive oil to complete the plate and complement the mushroom sauce.”

Wow…sounds great…tough meal to pair a wine I thought. So much Umami flavours to consider, but I am up to the challenge. The flavour of a not over seasoned or sauced beef is perfect to pair with a big Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon such as the Beringer Knights Valley 2012 ($39.99).  A complex cab with ripe red and dark berry flavours, floral and peppery spice notes with a rich mouth feel followed by pleasant silky tannins on the finish.

The mushroom sauce has a mouth coating effect which can subdue the complexity of the wine and its importance in the meal.  The beets with their natural sweetness balanced with the herb infused apple cider vinegar should balance the umami from the mushroom sauce. “Yes, I am going with the Knights Valley Cabernet,” I exclaimed!

“So Deb my love …you picked the main course, can I do the desert?”
“Well with that pretty please look on your face how can I say no!” Replied my wife. 
“So here it is and I think it is going to surprise and impress Marty and Charlene, oh and just maybe get me a big kudo’s from a certain lady.” 
“Oh boy…just like a man, always needing that pat on the head.”
“I was thinking Noe, a 30 year old Pedro Ximenez Sherry from Jerez Spain ($37.49) served chilled with large broken pieces of dark rich chocolate.  Can’t you just see the dark amber/brown with molasses and butterscotch aromas of the sherry and flavours of nuts and raisins, the creamy mouth coating texture creates a long powerful finish. The chocolate’s sweetness would pair perfectly with the sweet rich sherry. What do you think Deb?”
“You had me at thirty year old sherry…I’m in.”

The meal was a hit! I’m glad all the planning was worth it. Every bite and every sip was one to savour. I hope your next meal is as good as this one!

Time Posted: Sep 16, 2015 at 2:50 PM
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