Everything Wine And More

Samantha Torrance
 
September 28, 2015 | Samantha Torrance

Whisky Liqueurs

Whisky is a liquor everyone is familiar with, but it isn’t one people think of when liqueurs are in the mix. Some people find whisky has a harsh burn on the finish which comes from the alcohol content.  If we bring down that alcohol and add in some additional flavours and sweetness we find a new way to enjoy whisky!  Whisky Liqueurs are between 30% and 35% which cuts down on that burn we know all too well. Sample one of these Whisky Liqueurs today at our Sherwood Park location or buy a bottle and try at it home!

Irish Mist Honey Liqueur - $37.99/750ml
This liqueur is made from genuine Irish Whisky and is the only liqueur worldwide to have Irish in its registered name. Made with a blend of Irish whisky, honey, herbs and other spirits this liqueur has been around since 1947. It’s called a honey whisky for a reason. On the nose and on the palate honey is prevalent.  The palate starts with classic Irish whisky flavours then smoothly rolls into the sweet honey on the mid palate and finishes with a bit of heat and lingering sweetness. This liqueur can be enjoyed over ice, straight up, or mixed in a cocktail. The most popular is Irish Mist, Cola, and a wedge of lime.

Sortilege Maple Whisky - $32.99/750ml
This liqueur is a special blend of real Canadian maple syrup and Canadian whisky. At only 30% alcohol this liqueur is smooth with a little heat on the end. The aromas of maple syrup are gentle and sweet. Once you taste it the palate presents a slow embrace of maple syrup that envelops the whole mouth. It’s silky and not overpowering. The finish is a bit more traditional whisky with a soft mouth feel. This whisky is meant to be had over ice or straight up, but also is delicious in coffee or tea. If you love maple this is a must have! 

Spicebox Pumpkin Whisky - $28.99/750ml
Spicebox whiskies come in a variety of flavours. Spicebox pumpkin is a flavoured whisky and not a liqueur, but still has a sweeter softer finish than your typical straight whisky. The pumpkin flavours in the whisky remind you of  Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced syrup.  On the nose you get aromas of cinnamon and cloves. On the palate it is less sweet and finishes like a true whisky. There are more spices and pumpkin on the palate and move throughout the mouth to fill it with flavour. This can be a sipping whisky or try adding an ounce into cider for an added festive kick. 

 

Time Posted: Sep 28, 2015 at 1:42 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
Samantha Torrance
 
August 18, 2015 | Samantha Torrance

Gin & Tonic: Simple, Classic, Delicious!

The gin and tonic (G&T) is a classic cocktail that was invented in the 1700’s due to the preventative properties of the quinine in tonic water for malaria. These days however tonic water is sweeter and not used for medical treatment, but for enjoying on hot summer day. Now you may have tried gin and tonic before and not liked it, but there are so many different gins out there that there is a gin for everyone. Below are some of my favourites.

Now what makes gin special? Gin is made from the same base ingredients as vodka, but what makes it different is the botanicals in the gin. Most gins will have a clear juniper flavouring. There are no specifics of what makes a gin universally; however there are regional specifications for the different styles. For instance London Dry Gin has to be distilled at least twice to be named as such. Old Tom Gin is a slightly less dry gin than London Dry, but not as sweet as New American, it sits nicely in the middle. Old Tom has no specifics for making it, but the name comes from the 1800’s when gin was dispensed through tom cat plaque outside pubs. You would slip a coin in through a slot under the cat’s paw and the bartender poured a shot of gin through a tube in the cat’s mouth. New American or International Style Gin is a sweeter style of gin that is prominently infused with flavours other than juniper.

Prairie Organic Gin - $39.99/750ml
This gin is an herbal blend with hints of juniper. This gin most closely resembles the Old Tom gin style. Prairie Organic is also made with corn on a small family owned farm and is certified organic. This gin is delicate and refreshing with just a hint of sweetness. Just as the makers say “Made with respect”, and you can taste the respect in every bottle.

Try this twist on a Prairie G&T
•    2oz Prairie Organic Gin
•    1oz lemon juice
•    1oz lime juice
•    ½ oz. simple syrup
•    Splash of club soda
•    Handful of mint
Muddle mint. Shake Gin, juice, and syrup with ice. Pour into a glass and top with soda water.

Dillon’s Unfiltered Gin 22 - $43.99/750ml
Dillon’s is made in the London Dry style. This gin is made with 22 botanicals and is unfiltered for the best full flavour possible. This makes the gin cloudy in appearance. Strong on the nose with juniper and a bit heavy on the tongue with peppery notes. As classic and delicious as Gin should be! Dillon’s is also made with wine grapes instead of the usual corn or grain. 

Try the Dillon’s Official G&T
•    1.5oz Dillon’s Unfiltered 22 Gin
•    Few dashes of Lemon Bitters
•    Tonic Water
•    Fresh Lemon or Lime wedge
Fill Glass with ice. Combine gin, bitters and tonic. Garnish with lemon/lime wedge.

Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin - $51.99/750ml
This is my favourite gin, infused with Juniper, cucumber, lemon, sage, and lavender this gin is sweet and smooth. Uncle Val’s is made in the New American style. The scent of cucumber envelopes your nose the moment you open the bottle. This gin is complex yet subtle in its flavours and lingers on the tongue. Complimented by tonic and they work together to make a delightful cocktail.

Have one of my favourite G&T’s today
•    1 ½ oz. Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin
•    ½ Fresh Lime
•    ½ oz. simple syrup
•    Fresh mint
Muddle mint, lime and syrup in shaker. Add gin and ice and shake. Pour over ice and top with tonic.

 

Time Posted: Aug 18, 2015 at 8:44 AM
Samantha Torrance
 
July 31, 2015 | Samantha Torrance

Ciders: The new trendy cocktail mix?

It’s summer and everyone is enjoying the weather by sitting on patios and indulging with their preferred drink of choice. One of my favorite patio drinks is cider, it comes in a multitude of flavours which means there’s a cider for everyone. Not all ciders are made with apples either, so if you want to try something a little different there are many options to choose from! A new trend popping up is to use cider in mixed drinks. Below are my twists on how you can enjoy cider.

Somserby Cider – Apple, Pear, Blackberry/$14.99 per 4pk – Variety Pack/$26.99

If you like your drinks sweet then Somersby is for you. With four different flavours you can mix and match all you want. The Apple, Blackberry, and Citrus flavours are all fermented apple juice with the Pear being fermented pear juice. All of their ciders are delightfully sweet and refreshing. The Variety Pack includes 2 cans of each flavour. Somersby is best served over ice, but try Somersby with a shot of your favourite liquor or liqueur today! I recommend trying Somersby Sangria for a refreshing summer drink. If you are more of a white sangria person subsitute with the Citrus Cider and a bottle of your favorite Pinot Grigio.

Somersby Sangria

  • 2 Cans Blackberry Cider
  • 1 Bottle of your favorite Merlot
  • Your choice of mixed fruit.
  • Mix together and chill

Rekorderlig Cider – Elderflower, Strawberry Lime, Wild Berry/$3.99 per Can

This Swedish Pear Cider comes in three pleasant flavours, Elderflower, Strawberry Lime, and Wild Berry. All three flavours are crisp, sweet, and very pleasant over ice. The Elderflower cider has a touch of floral notes combined with the perfect amount of sweetness. The Strawberry Lime is the Strawberry Daiquiri of ciders, not overpowering, but just enough to take you to your happy place. Last, but not least is the Wild Berry cider, this cider is comparable to the Somersby Blackberry, but less sweet and has flavours of blueberry and raspberry to name a few. I love these ciders on their own, but they also make some surprisingly good cocktails. Try one of these pitcher recipes today.

Dance All Night Pitcher

  • 5.5 oz. Spiced Rum
  • 6 dashes Aromatic Bitters
  • 4 oz. Lime Juice
  • 2 Cans Rekorderlig Wild Berry Cider
  • 3.5 – 7 oz. Ginger Beer
  • Mix into a pitcher and top with Ginger Beer.

Fruity Elixir Punch Pitcher

  • 1 Lemon, Lime,  and Orange, sliced
  • 5 Strawberries, sliced
  • 2 oz. White Rum
  • 1.5 oz. Lime Juice
  • 2 Cans Rekorderlig Strawberry Lime Cider
  • Layer the ice and fruit and mix in a Pitcher.

Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider – 6pk/$15.99 – Growler Fill/$8.99 per Liter

Angry Orchard is your classic apple cider that is medium sweet and very refreshing. Made with apples from all over the world including France, Italy, and the United States, Angry Orchard finds the best apples to make its cider with. This is my favorite cider that we sell, I prefer to drink it alone, but you can always add ice to cool it off more or cut down on the sweetness. If you don’t want to commit to buying a six pack we currently carry the Angry Orchard on our Growler Bar.  You can purchase one or two liter growler bottles at our Sherwood Park location. If you want to mix things up try an Angry Orchard cocktail today.

Angry Screwdriver

  • 1.5 oz. of Grand Marnier
  • 1 oz. Orange Juice
  • 1 Bottle Angry Orchard Crisp Apple
  • Mix and enjoy.

Passionately Angry Cider

  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Peach Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz. Crème de Banana
  • 1 Bottle Angry Orchard Crisp Apple
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice (optional)
  • Mix and enjoy.

Pommies Farmhouse Cider – 473ml Can/$4.49

Pommies Cider is a DRY cider that is crisp and refreshing made with 100% Ontario. Pommies is also certified Gluten free for ease of mind. When I tried the Farmhouse cider I ended up creating my own cocktail or you can try these other official Pommies recipes or create your own. If you do create your own great cocktail share it in the comments and let us know how you enjoyed it!

Lemon Apple Cider

  • 1 Can Pommies Farmhouse Cider
  • 1 oz. Limoncello
  • 1-2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
  • Mix and enjoy.

Pommies Grapefruit Radler

  • 1 Can Pommies Farmhouse Cider
  • 1 Can Grapefruit Radler
  • Mix and enjoy
Time Posted: Jul 31, 2015 at 8:23 AM
Caitlin Flach
 
June 15, 2015 | Caitlin Flach

Pretty in Pink! Part 2

Summer is here! With sunshine comes wine on the patio and it is the perfect time for pink wines!

If you read my previous blog, you will know that when it comes to Rosés, there are endless possibilities beyond White Zinfandel. Pink wine is becoming one of my favorites to have with dinner, or to sit outside with friends and have a good time. I’m hoping that you all will give one of these a try and fall in love with Rose as well! I had the chance to try many of the Rosés that we sell here at Everything Wine and More, during our Think Pink Rosé event, and WOW I was impressed by all of them! Here are some of my favorites:

Roscato Rose Dolce
Italy

$16.99
One of our most popular wines is the Roscato Red because of its sweet palate. If you like sweet, this is the Rosé for you! This wine is slightly effervescent; the nose presents bright strawberry and raspberry flavours. The grapes used to make this wine are Pinot Noir, Croatina, and Teroldego, grapes unique to Italy. The palate presents pleasing notes of bright strawberry and cherry fruit and will go great just by itself! It finishes with a crisp acidity lending balance to the sweetness of the wine.  Be sure to buy a couple of bottles, because this is not a wine you will want to share!

Banrock Station White Shiraz
Australia
$12.99

This Rosé is made from Shiraz grapes, Australia’s specialty grape. Right off the bat, I noticed the beautiful dark pink colour and a nice fruit forward nose. On the palate, this wine shows great acidity. Slightly off dry this wine is showing ripe notes of raspberries.

Monster Vineyards Rosé
Okanagan Valley, BC
$17.99

Made with Malbec, Merlot, Syrah and Viognier, this is a surprisingly versatile Rosé. The nose hits you with watermelon candy, but the palate is actually quite well balanced, and not overwhelmingly sweet. The palate is chalk full delicious fruit such as strawberry and rhubarb with a hint of citrus on the finish. This wine is off dry with refreshing acidity to balance it out and make it an enjoyable wine with or without food.

Sokol Blosser Rosé
USA
$18.99

Made from Pinot Noir grapes, this wine offers a great fruit forward palate and a delicate floral nose. Pale pink in colour this wine offers great acidity with subtle hints of minerality to please those dry wine drinkers. Soft tropical fruit notes grace your palate and make this wine a great summer sipper for all wine lovers!

Domaine de la Mordorée Tavel
France
$32.99

This wine is not one you will want to miss out on. This is the perfect Rosé to pair with food because it offers great acidity and a fuller body. This wine was made in a small region near Provence, and features grapes that are most often used in the ever so popular Provence Rosés: Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Syrah. The winery is completely biodynamic and this wine will not disappoint and is worth the high price point Tavel often calls for.  The nose presented raspberry notes, and the palate was not disappointing with great cherry and raspberry flavours with lots of acidity. Dry with slight minerality, this will be a great wine to have with your next salmon dinner.

Chateau d’Astros Rosé
France
$17.99

Commonly used in the Provence region, this wine feature Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and uncommonly some Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to create a delicate and floral Rosé. Light petal pink in colour, the nose is soft and floral with hints and notes of strawberry and grapefruit. The palate offers dried rose petals, strawberry and plenty of minerality. Very pretty and delicate flavours, with soft acidity.

Chateau Ollieux Romanis Rosé
France
$19.49

From the Languedoc region in France, this wine was made from 60% Grenache, and 40% Cinsault. This wine is a very pretty pink colour, with soft tropical nose.  I loved the hints of grapefruit and mango, and I was pleasantly surprised with sweet spice.

Sandhill Rosé
Canada
$20.99

I always thought that the Sandhill Rosé was in a black glass bottle, because when you first glance at it, you only see a hint of its pink hue. But I was wrong! The bottle is clear glass, the colour is just that deep! It is made with a plethora of grapes including Cabernet Franc, Gamay Noir, Sangiovese, and Barbera. Dark magenta in colour this wine surprised me with earthy minerality, and bright cranberry flavours.

There you have it! My own personal notes on delicious Rose Wines. I hope you try one or two or all 8 this summer!

Time Posted: Jun 15, 2015 at 10:12 AM
Cheata Nao
 
May 22, 2015 | Cheata Nao

Rhone Perfection!

Today I had a wonderful opportunity to attend a special wine tasting put on by Pacific Wine and Spirits. The tasting was titled Rhone Perfection: M.Chapoutier Selections Parcellaires Tasting. We tasted through 6 wines that are rarely open for tasting on any given Thursday. Two whites and four reds were in the lineup ranging from $80-400. You can understand my excitement since it’s not every day I get to try $400 wine! Every wine in the flight, except for one, was also rated over 94 points. Our last wine of the flight received a perfect rating of 100 points by Wine Advocate.

If you’ve had the chance to meet me, whether it be at the store or at another tasting, you would have learned very quickly that I love French Wines! In my humble and absolutely biased opinion there is no country that produces better wine than France and this tasting only strengthen my opinion of that.

As I combed through my thoughts from the tasting two words continually popped up in my mind: Acidity and Elegance. These two words are the epitome of why French Wines are far more superior to those of the New World. That isn’t to say I don't enjoy certain American, Australian, or Canadian wines. It is however not a coincidence that those New World wines I do enjoy tend to be made in a French “style” or by French winemakers!

What is acidity? Acidity is that mouth-watering, salivating, and refreshing affect that takes places after every sip. It is the reason you physically crave another glass. In both white and red wines high acidity is a sign of long term age ability. Elegance is a little harder to explain. It can mean different things to different people.  When I use the word elegant to describe a wine, I’m talking about a sense of grace and simplicity to the complexity of the wine. Was that even more confusing? Think of it this way. Wines that are elegant don’t try so hard to be delicious, they just are and you can't quite explain why.

Elegant wines don’t need to pull the wool over your taste buds with overly jammy fruit, oaky spice, residual sugar, high alcohol or mouth ripping tannins and then nothing more. Inelegant wines might have fierce bold flavours, but they’re short lived and don’t leave much to the imagination. They’ve showed you all their cards up front and have nothing left to keep you wanting more.

Elegant wines keep you guessing. Every swirl, sniff, and sip reveals something new and you can’t help but wonder what the next sniff and sip will reveal. You begin to imagine how this wine will change in an hour, 3 hours, 24 hours, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years or even 50 years! They are the Chanel of the wine world. Classics that never go out of style!

The first wine in the flight was the Hermitage “Chante-Alouette” 2012. Suggested retail price $85-$95. Chante-Alouette is 100% Marsanne. The grapes were hand harvested with 1/3 being vinified in wood barrels and the other 2/3 vinified in concrete vats. This wine was my favourite of the flight! Very aromatic and intense on the nose I got notes of candied almonds, honey, ripe pears and ginger spice. Full bodied with notes of bruised apples and fresh almonds on the palate, this wine had a rich creamy texture followed by a crisp refreshing acidity. The elegant flavours lingered on the palate long after the first sip. This wine paired beautifully with the crab cake and smoked salmon crostini with a dill cream cheese. The richness in the wine matched the richness in the food served and the flavours of the crab and dill cream cheese enhanced the acidity in the wine even more.

The second wine in the flight was the Ermitage De L’Oree Blanc 2011. Suggested retail price $200-210. This was also 100% Marsanne and handpicked. 50% of the wine is vinified in oak barrels with frequent stirring of the lees. The other 50% vinified in neutral concrete vats. Based on its vinification process one could’ve expected this wine to be much richer, creamier, and oakier than the Chante-Alouette. To my surprise the L’Oree Blanc had more citrus and mineral notes on the nose and much higher acidity on the palate than the Chante-Alouette. On the nose I got notes of apples, lemon oil, and jasmine with a wet stone on the very end of the nose. The palate brought forth flavours similar to the nose up front followed by flavours of burnt toast and roasted chestnuts that lingered on the finish. This wine will age for another 30-50 years! I admit the 2011 was still showing a little closed, which is probably why I preferred the Chante-Alouette. However, this wine will continue to develop and will only get better with age!

After the two whites we moved onto the Reds. In the Northern Rhone the only red grape varietal allowed to be grown is Syrah. Typically Syrah from the Northern Rhone is meatier and earthier than its new world counterparts found in the US or Australia. Northern Rhone Syrah tends to have high tannins and high acidity and could use a few years of aging before being ready to drink.

The next four wines we tasted were not your “typical” Northern Rhone Syrah. They were much more approachable young. They were all fruit forward with soft silky tannins and of course high acidity!

The first red was the Cote Rotie La Mordoree 2011. Suggested Retail Price $160-$170. On the nose there were notes of ripe red fruits and violet perfume with nuances of baking spices. On the first pour I did not notice any earthy or meaty notes. However, on the second pour which came from a different bottle I noticed more notes of raw meat and brine mingled in with the ripe red fruits. On the palate the ripe red fruits turned into stewed fruits. Medium bodied with medium well integrated tannins and high acidity.

The next two reds came from two different vineyard sites that are only 100 meters apart, yet have two completely different soils. The Ermitage Le Meal Rouge 2011 showed ripe red fruits, perfume, and hot stones on the nose. The tannins were chalkier than those found in the Cote Rotie above, but beautifully palatable because of the high acidity on the finish. The palate showed dried fruits and baking spice that lingered nicely on the tip of your tongue. Suggested Retail Price $230

After the Le Meal Rouge we tasted the Ermitage L’Ermite Rouge 2011. Suggested Retail Price $399. The vines in L’Ermite were grown on granitic soils and the vines in Le Meal were grown on clay soils. Granitic soils have better drainage than clay soils. What this means is that water does not stick around in the soil for very long. Vines grown on granitic soils have less water to soak up which results in less water in the grape pulp leaving more room for sugar, acid, and flavour compounds resulting in much more concentrated wines. Essentially there’s less water to “dilute” the flavours of the grape. This concentration certainly showed in the wine.

The L’Ermite was much more aromatic on the nose than the Le Meal. On the nose I found notes of black berry, black currant, ripe strawberries, blueberry jam and red rose petals. It was medium bodied with medium plush tannins and very high acidity. The fruits on the palate were of a berry compote with a dried mushroom finish. This wine has aging potential like nobody’s business! I hope I’m fortunate enough to try this wine again in a few years. I can’t wait to see how these flavours will evolve.

Last, but certainly not least, we come to the 100 point rated Ermitage Le Pavillon 2011. Suggested Retail Price $340. This wine comes from 60-75 year old vines and of all the reds we tasted it was the only one that sees partial maturation in new oak barrels, about 30%. The nose was intensely fruit forward with notes of blackberry, blueberry, vanilla, and sweet baking spices. The palate had flavours of figs and dried dates with rounded blackberry fruit and spice. It had the grippiest tannins of all four reds followed by a very plump and juicy finish.

If you have the chance to get a hold of any of these amazing wines try to hold onto them for a few years. They are delicious now, but they all have so much aging potential! They haven’t even begun to show any secondary or tertiary characteristics. These wines are only going to get more interesting and complex with age and I pray that I will get to taste at least one of these wines again!

At Everything Wine and More we currently carry the 2008 vintage of the Ermitage Le Meal and will be bringing in the Chante-Alouette Blanc 2012. 

Time Posted: May 22, 2015 at 9:20 AM
Samantha Torrance
 
May 19, 2015 | Samantha Torrance

The Versatility of Liqueurs!

Summer is on its way, but considering this is Alberta you never know if it’s going to start snowing on a moment’s notice! If you’re looking for a drink to satisfy your thirst for both hot and cold days, liqueurs are the way to go to get a delicious sweet summer beverage! Liqueurs are extremely versatile: add it into coffee, tea or hot chocolate, have it straight over ice, or blend into a homemade frappe or adult smoothie. There is simply no wrong way to drink these delightful liqueurs. Here are a few of my favourite liqueurs. Feel free to share your own recipes in our comments section below.

Rum Chata Cream Liqueur- $28.99/750 mL

Rum Chata was inspired by an ancient Egyptian drink called Horchata that was made with tiger nuts, but in the western world it is more commonly made with rice. Rum Chata is made with Caribbean Rum, real cream dairy and flavoured with vanilla, cinnamon and a blend of secret spices. Rum Chata is delectable in hot chocolate, but would also add some extra flavour to a blended or iced coffee for those hot summer days. Did you know Rum Chata is also Gluten Free!?

Cabot Trail Maple Cream Liqueur - $31.99/750 mL

This Cream Liqueur is made in Canada and is named after John Cabot, the first European to discover Canada. Made with real maple syrup and cream, this rum and grain based alcohol is smooth and sweet. Cabot Trail is perfect the way it is and can be drunk over ice. If you’re looking to add a little dazzle to Sunday Brunch add to your coffee and pancake mix!

Trader Vic’s Macadamia Nut - $33.99/750 mL

This rum based nutty liqueur from the United States takes you to the warm islands of Hawaii with its sweet nuts and hint of vanilla. Smooth and buttery this liqueur is perfect in a hot toddy for a little extra kick or try it in baked goods! One of my favourite ways to use this liqueur is in a White Russian with a twist. Simply substitute the vodka or coffee liqueur traditionally used for a White Russian with Trader Vic’s Macadamia Nut, depending on what taste you want more prominent. If you have a sweet tooth this liqueur is for you.

Time Posted: May 19, 2015 at 2:33 PM
Jeramy Torrance
 
May 19, 2015 | Jeramy Torrance

Summer Considerations from Jeramy Torrance

As we come around the corner of May and face the (hopefully) last snow fall of the year, a lot of folks are going to be gearing up for all kinds of summer fun. Be it patio parties, camping trips or evenings by the fire pit, there is always a great wine to accompany any outing. In today’s edition I will be sharing some of the wines I have enjoyed with family and friends over the long winter months to help spark some ideas for your upcoming events. 

Cavicchioli Vino Spumante Demi-Sec $12.99 – (Campegine, Italy) 

There have been many birthdays I have attended between November and May, and what goes better at parties than a spot of bubbly? I first sampled this wine as a last minute gift. It was very reasonably priced at $13 a bottle and had a very flashy label; Who doesn’t love a pretty label? This style of Italian sparkling wine is known as a spumante, which literally means ‘sparkling wine’, and is no indication of sweetness or grapes used. Not to be confused with commercial brands like Spumante Bambino or Martini Asti ,spumante is a general term to refer to Italian sparkling wine. In Alberta, a large portion of what is available from Italy is called prosecco. In order for a wine to be labelled as Prosecco, it must come froma specific regionand be made with the glera grape.TheCavicchioli Spumante is made from Malvasia and is crafted in a demi-sec style which means that a larger portion of residual sugar was left behind after fermentation. This style of wine can also be called off-dry or extra-dry when referring to sparkling wines. It is a bright and effervescent wine, pale straw yellow incolour. On the nose, I found it light and fresh with green apples and pear that carry onto the palate with a touch of white flowers that finishes with a touch of sweetness. This will be a beautiful wine to have on its own when the sun is high in the sky. Think about indulging the next time you have to entertain on the patio or need a break from digging in the garden. 

Les Quatre Tours Rosè $16.99 – (Provence, France) 

A beautiful thing happens in the wine industry over the course of the next few months. The delicate and pretty-pink Rosè wines from Provence slowly make their way onto shelves. To many people, the only exposure to rosè wines they have had is to the cheap and sweet version such as White Zinfandel or Pink Moscato. Rosès produced in Provence are on a completely different level. These dry rosè wines are delicate, pretty and impeccably well-balanced. Typically, one can expect the wine to have hints of white flowers and a distinct white candy note on the nose (think of the little rocket candies you hand out at Halloween). This is exactly what you can expect from Les Quatre Tours – a pretty and delicate wine with a beautiful flowery nose with lighter notes of candy floss and strawberry. Light pink salmon in colour it is a blend of Grenache, Syrah,Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a perfect wine for warmer days and pairs perfectly with light salads, cured or cold meats.  

Mission Hill Compendium 2010 $60.99 – (Okanagan Valley, Canada) 

I had the opportunity to participate in a very unique tasting. I had been cellaring a bottle of Mission Hill Compendium 2009 for just over a year before I decided to open it. A co-worker of mine here at Everything Wine happened to also have their hands on a bottle of the 2008 vintage and we were able to put them side by side and compare the differences. The major difference between the two vintages is that the 2008 displayed a lot more savory characteristics such as chocolate, tobacco and leather. The 2009 was beginning to show a bit of the tertiary characters as well, but still dripped of succulent red currant and cassis. Both of these vintages exhibited perfectly integrated tannins with a nice cut of acidity to balance out the finish. From the 2010 vintage, the current release, one can expect a full-bodied wine composed of 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 21% Cabernet Franc. A little on the indulgent side, this is not a wine for every day quaffing, but makes for a beautiful accompaniment to a special evening. I strongly recommend laying this bottle down for at least a year further before enjoying it, to give it a chance to start to develop those deeper flavours and aromas. Strong flavoured cheeses and a nice Rib-Eye steak grilled to medium-rare is the perfect food pairing for this gem. 

Time Posted: May 19, 2015 at 9:52 AM
Caitlin Flach
 
February 6, 2015 | Caitlin Flach

Pretty in Pink

Attention red drinkers and white drinkers! How do you feel about pink wine? Rosés are the perfect middle ground for anyone who feels they would like to move from white to red, or vice versa. And let me tell you, there is a whole world beyond White Zinfandel! Pinot Noir Rosés, Cabernet Sauvignon Rosés, Garnacha Rose; the options are infinite for such a “fru- fru” looking wine. You see, Rosé is made from red grapes; however, the skins are kept in contact with the grape juice during fermentation for much less time than red wine. This is where they get their vibrant pink colour, and their complex flavours. If you like sweet whites, try a White Zinfandel or a Red/Pink Moscato. If you love the dry reds, try a Malbec Rosé or a Cab Sauv Rosé. The options are endless, and each Rosé offers something different.

Here are some of my favorites!

Santa Digna Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé ($14.99)
Chile

Dark magenta in colour, this wine is beautiful and complex. With a strong scent of strawberry, and soft floral notes.  The palate does not disappoint with flavours of strawberry, cranberry and grapefruit. This rosé is dry with medium acidity to make it a great pairing wine to have with lighter meat dishes or pasta.

Chapoutier Belleruche Rosé ($17.99)
France

From the Cotes-du-Rhone region of France, this Rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah. It is incredibly floral and fragrant on the nose, with bright acidity complimenting the palate. The flavours of cranberry and hints of strawberry are enhanced with a minerality that makes this a nice dry Rosé, perfect for those who are not a fan of sweet flavours. Try this rose with a traditional french salade nicoise or cedar plank salmon!

Be Flirty Pink Moscato ($11.99)
USA

This is the perfect reflection of a crisp, refreshing, and juicy Rosé, without getting into the cloying sweetness of White Zinfandel. As most know, Moscato is typically a white wine, so as per making this a fun pink hue, wine makers added red wine into the mix of Muscato grapes, creating a unique and fruity Rosé. This Pink Moscato offers a slight effervescence, bright acidity, and perfect raspberry and strawberry flavours. Characteristically, as a Rosé, there is a nice dry finish adding to the character of this wine. Light bodied and charismatic, this wine is perfect to just sip by itself and have a good time.

Time Posted: Feb 6, 2015 at 1:13 PM
Jeramy Torrance
 
September 29, 2014 | Jeramy Torrance

Comparing Premium Wines from the Old World and USA

Our last Premium Gems event in August was a big success, everyone had a great time and we all got to try some really awesome wines. In light of the event, I am going to talk a bit about the line-up for anyone who couldn’t be there that night. The theme was USA versus the World, and the aim was to pair unique wines against each other that really showed off those classic nuances you find from different regions around the world. To emphasize this, I selected some wines that I felt really show-cased the beauty of the terroir and the styles from these regions.

FIRST PAIR: Roederer Anderson Valley Brut  ($32.49) VS Louis Roederer Premier Brut Champagne ($59.99)

The first pairing pitted the Roederer sparkling from the US against its French counterpart. In composition, the main difference is that no Pinot Meunier is grown in the US vineyards, therefore the Roederer from the US is composed from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We sampled the Anderson Valley Brut first. Pale straw in colour with a nice head of foam, the wine gives off tart aromas of apples and pears with a line of baking yeast. Bright acidity gives a very lively palate with a green apple finish that has a bit of pucker power. The bubbly had a medium level of carbonation with a medium length finish. The fruit was definitely emphasized in this creation, carrying those green apple and pear notes from start to finish.

Moving on to the Louis Roederer Champagne from France, it poured the same colour with a little bit more foam on the head. The fruits on the nose again showed the apple and pear, with a bit of brioche and baked pastry showing as well. On the palate, the bready, pastry notes really showed themselves mingling with a nice line of mineral acidity. The French Champagne definitely showed a more elegant finesse than the Anderson Valley Brut, however the US counterpart is a good fill in for someone who enjoys the profile of champagne, without spending Champagne prices.

SECOND PAIR: Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2013 ($29.99) VS Eroica Riesling 2012 ($33.99)

For the second pair, I selected two of my favorite whites that I think truly show off the character of their growing regions. Pinot Gris has a lovely little niche here in Canada, showing up in most winery line-ups. Nichol dazzles year after year with their lovely salmon-pink Pinot Gris and places like Ruby Blues and Sandhill make their own beautiful renditions. The one I focused on in this class is one of my favorites; the Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris. At 29.99 it is an absolute steal of a wine, way out-performing its price range. The nose is flowery and pretty with a hint of peach orchards. The palate carries medium weight with a nice toned down acidity to compliment the peaches and cream notes. A lovely light sipper, it goes a long way to show the quality of wines we can produce in the Okanagan.

Its rival in this competition was the Eroica Riesling from Columbia Valley in Washington State. Eroica is a joint-venture between Chateau St. Michelle, one of the premier Riesling producers in Washington, and Dr. Loosen of the Mosel Valley in Germany. Together they make a stunning off-dry white with bright crisp acidity and tremendous pairing potential. For a 2012, I was surprised at the petrol notes that came off this pale-gold wine. A lot of ripe stone fruit up front, more typical of a colder climate, lots of peaches and pear. The finish was medium in length, with just a touch of residual sugar to carry through.

THIRD PAIR: Villa Cafaggio Cortaccio 2005 ($47.99) VS Rutherford Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 ($45.99)

In round three it was battle of the Cabs, with Villa Cafaggio’s 100% Cabernet from Italy up against Rutherford Hills classic Napa Valley Cab. Calling the “Golden Basin” of Chianti its home, the Cortaccio comes from the heart of Tuscany. Only about 15% of Villa Cafaggio’s vineyards are comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, the rest being used exclusively for Sangiovese. Since it’s a 2005 vintage, with a bit of age the wine was deep garnet with a little bit of brown showing on the edge. The nose hit strong with prunes and stewed fruits, very classic Italian. Even with the age, the fruit was still quite prominent on the palate, loads of blackberry and raspberry. A touch of earthiness showed itself on the mid-palate like a wet forest floor. Some mushroom notes carried through to the finish where the tannins were still very prominent and mouth-filling. It drank really well that night, but still has the potential to age for 3-5 more years.

On the younger side, the 2010 Rutherford Hill Cab Sauv was a bright ruby red. The nose was fresh, with loads of black berry and cassis. One striking observation about this bottle was upon first opening it there were very pronounced notes of tobacco, however by the time we tasted it near the end of the class most of it had blown off and only a slight linger remained. On the palate, it had loads of the same dark fruits with a bit of black cherry mingling with the cassis. A fresh note, something reminiscent of pine, was detectable as well. I found the wine to have a nice little bite of acidity right on the end, with silky tannins that had already integrated well. The Rutherford Hill did not have the same kind of power and structure as the Cortaccio, but is certainly more approachable now and will be reaching its peak in another year or so.

FOURTH PAIR: Halter Ranch Cotes de Paso 2011 ($45.99) VS Zenato Amarone Classico ($45.99)

We looked at red blends for the final pair, facing off the exciting new Halter Ranch from Paso Robles, USA versus an Italian staple, Amarone, specifically from the Zenato winery. In this final pairing, I wanted to show off some bigger, boozier examples that can come from some playful wine-making techniques. Calling Paso Robles its home, Halter Ranch is much further South than the Napa Valley wineries. The Pacific Ocean lends its influence to keep a very even heat throughout the summer, allowing slow and evening ripening to maximize flavour concentration.  The reason I picked the Cotes de Paso for this category is the interesting choice of grape blend. 48% Grenache, 27% Syrah, 19% Mourvedre and 6% Tannat. The wine was a lovely mix between garnet and purple, but still a little bit see-through. Red berries and spice dominated the nose with a pine-like freshness. On the palate, well balanced acidity entwined with notes of raspberry, sour cherry and loads of baking spice with that bit of pine still lingering on the back of the palate. This red ends strong, with beautiful chalky tannins that coat the tongue, making the finish persist endlessly.

The last wine of the evening is one of my favorites, the Zenato Amarone Classico. For those who don’t know, Amarone is made by harvesting the grapes and then drying them out on straw mats. The resulting raisins are then pressed to make the wine. By going through this drying process, it concentrates the sugars by taking the water out of the grape and provides some incredibly intensely flavored wines that are full-bodied. This particular Amarone has a pungent aroma of perfumes, black cherries and black berries with a bit of smoky spice. The palate was intense and powerful, loaded with rich red and black fruits, chocolate and just a hint of lavender. Chewy, mouth-filling tannins round out the never-ending finish that continues to linger with hints of spice and berries.

Overall, the class was a big success and everyone enjoyed themselves. With Summer coming to a close and moving into Autumn, we are looking towards the gift giving season, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more Premium Gems events in the coming months, as well as the return of weekly vintage tastings. As always, if you ever have any questions about what is written here or any other wine questions feel free to come chat with me inside our Vintage Room. 

Time Posted: Sep 29, 2014 at 1:46 PM
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