Thursday, December 23, 2010

No "Wine-ing" it's Christmas ...and Turkey Cooking Tips

The title of today's blog was meant two fold: (i) There will be no wine blog this week, because if you haven't been to the LCBO yet, there will only be Wine Tetras left on the near naked shelves, as all of my readers would have read the blog from two weeks ago and scooped up all the good wines and (ii) Christmas is a joyous time of year, meant to celebrate the best of the past year, so pour a glass of lovely wine and celebrate with all the people you care about ...and if your year had some bad notes, the wine will help you forget them!

1. If you want the moistest and tastiest bird ...brine your turkey. You can do this two ways: (i) fill a cooler with liquid brine and submerge the turkey for 24 hours. Before cooking rinse the turkey thoroughly and dry completely. Rub the turkey with olive oil and then add your favourite herbs (thyme, sage, etc.). Roast breast side down for two hours, then flip the bird and complete the roasting. Here is a good link for this method or
(ii) Use a dry brine. Coat the turkey with olive oil and then using 1 cup of Kosher salt, rub and coat the bird completely. Refrigerate for 24 hours before cooking. This is probably the easiest method and if this interests you, here's a link with all of the instructions on how to dry-brine your turkey

stuff your turkey. In the olden days (40+ years ago) turkeys were tough old birds, mostly free range. The cooking time was much longer and the stuffing helped to make the meat tastier and more tender. Today's turkey has evolved genetically and they are bred to be more tender, less muscled and cook 20 to 25% faster. If you stuff your bird two things may happen: (i) the bird may be undercooked and you give your guests food poisoning or (ii) in order to cook the stuffing the breast meat gets over cooked and dries out. So make your stuffing separately and add some pan juices at the end for flavouring.

WINE PAIRING - You can serve either white or red with your bird. I recommend a dry Riesling as the white (Angels Gate Riesling Sussreserve 2008, Niagara Peninsula; Ontario, Canada; LCBO #620104; Rating - 88; $13.95) and a Pinot Noir as the red (Inniskillin Varietal Series Pinot Noir 2009, Niagara Peninsula; Ontario, Canada; LCBO #261099; Rating - 88; $14.95 ). if you can't find these, there are also, many other wonderful Ontario wines in both of these categories, that will pair well and are reasonably priced.

In closing I just wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

All the best in 2011 ...Greg

Friday, December 10, 2010

Santa’s Bringing some Great Wines to the LCBO This Week

Vintages Release for December 11, 2010

This is by far the best release of the year, as there are over 43 wines with a rating of 90 or higher. Of course some of these are quite expensive, but there are some great value picks here as well. The LCBO has released another 58 wines that are rated at 88 or 89 and this is where I have found some real gems this week. I have picked 25 wines that I think are worth looking at and you can see all of them by clicking on this link:

However, to make the decision making process easier I have listed 5 “Must Buys” and another 8 worth looking at. Enjoy and get out today or early on Saturday, as the stores will be pillaged by mid-afternoon on the 11th.

Champagne is a big hit at this time of year and the Charles Duret Brut Crémant De Bourgogne, Ac, Burgundy, France (LCBO #185694) is great value at $17.95 or the Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava from Spain (LCBO #158493) is a steal at $14.55. Both are rated an “88” but buy them now, as the shelves will be empty by December 31st.

Five Must Buys

Baron De Ley Gran Reserva 2001, Doca Rioja
Spain; LCBO #642496; Rating – 92; $29.95

This is an amazing 9 year old wine that is drinkable now, but will cellar for another 10 years. It is balanced, well structured and has excellent finish.

Disznókö Late Harvest Furmint 2008, Tokaji
Hungary; LCBO #185074; Rating – 90; $21.95

Tokaji is an excellent desert wine from Hungary. This is a late-harvest style that is drinkable now to 2020. Very elegant, well balanced and great length. Pair this with crème brulée.

Creekside Estate Laura Red 2007, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Ontario, Canada; LCBO #117960; Rating – 89; $19.95

A wonderful Bordeaux style blend from Niagara that won double gold at the 2010 All Canadian Wine Championships. The vintner suggests pairing this with pulled pork or a hearty soup or stew.

Dr. Hermann Riesling Kabinett 2008, Erdener Treppchen
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany; LCBO #189647; Rating – 90; $16.95.

A truly wonderful wine at a great price. This must be on your Christmas table if you are serving turkey!

Kendall Jackson Vintner's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Sonoma, Napa, And Mendocino Counties (375ml)
California, USA; LCBO #706077; Rating – 89; $12.95

This is a half bottle, but a reasonable price for a night when you’re all alone with a great steak. Hide the bottle when you’re finished at the bottom of the recycling box and no one will be the wiser!

More Great Buys

Red Wines

Coriole Redstone Shiraz 2007, Mclaren Vale, South Australia
Australia; LCBO #59915; Rating – 90; $17.95

It's lush, rich and dense - very finely tuned with McLaren Vale finesse. Excellent length. David Lawrason from Wine Align says …Grab a case!

Bodegas Franco Espanolas Rioja Bordón Reserva 2004, Doca Rioja
Spain; LCBO #194753; Rating – 90; $18.95

A Gold Medal winner in Decanter Magazine World Wine Awards for 2010. Aged to perfection but cold hold for another 5 to10 years. Would pair nicely with a Beef Tenderloin Roast.

Rocca Delle Macìe Chianti Riserva 2006, Docg
Tuscany, Italy; LCBO #111641; Rating – 89; Price - $15.00

Wonderful wine at a great price. Buy a case and save for those Italian dinner nights.

Château La Chèze 2005, Ac
Bordeaux, France; LCBO #191007; Rating – 89; Rating - $18.95

From a great vintage in 2005 this wine is drinkable now. Complex with excellent finish. Pair it with a salt crusted prime rib roast.

Château De Gourgazaud Réserve 2006, Ac Minervois
Languedoc Roussillon (Midi), France; LCBO #986083; Rating – 88; $17.95

Complex, full bodied at a great price. Pair it with a roast leg of lamb.

White Wines

Jackson Triggs Proprietors' Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2008, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Ontario, Canada; LCBO #593996; Rating – 89; $20.95

A wonderful example of the great chardonnays being produced here at home. Medium bodied and very good length. Serve this with a nice winter risotto or grilled salmon.

Eikendal Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay 2008, Wo Stellenbosch
South Africa; LCBO #984773; Rating – 88; $18.95

Another nice medium bodied wine with excellent length. Buy a bottle and compare it to the Jackson Triggs.

Wither Hills Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Marlborough, South Island
New Zealand; LCBO #919514; Rating – 88; $17.95

Fresh, crisp, clean and zesty, in an archetypal Marlborough sauvignon style. Good value and excellent length. Drink in the next two years while the fruit is still fresh.