On my bike ride into work the other day, I started thinking about “the holiday season.” It was almost two years ago now that I started my blog and by far the most unexpected aspect of the whole experience has been the “blogging community” and how many people out there (most of whom I have never met) I would consider “friends.” Sure, if you put us all in a room for a couple of hours (particularly without any wine) we might figure out that everyone else was an insufferable navel-gazing jerk, but I like to think that we would all get along famously (with the exception of the Food and Wine Hedonist, naturally, since he clearly has more problems than a math book*).
So in the spirit of the season, I thought I would propose a little idea.
I have never been very keen about the whole “Secret Santa”…
Here’s hoping sincerely that you got what you wanted for Christmas. You deserve it. Fee free to share your joy.
And here’s also hoping that you found a chance to give something to someone in need. Or perhaps you gave to the community. Or sent a gift to the World Vision child you support. That’s the biggest joy of all, isn’t it?
It’s been a joy to connect with family and friends this Christmas. We shared the celebration of the birth of a very special baby long ago whose mighty influence touches us still in so many ways. There’s been a renewed sense of hope that if more people would just live out the message of The Prince Of Peace, then we’d have more peace on earth and greater goodwill towards everyone.
We feel a lingering warmth in our hearts over the opportunities we’ve had this season to give, and we’ve witnessed the delight of those who’ve received. We’ve watched a little world of wonder with children’s eyes lighting up. Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of year.
Can I tell you about the best food pairing wine I’ve ever discovered? I’ve been intensively into wine for almost 20 years and I’ve never seen another that pairs so well with such a wide range of food. This’ll be our little secret, and this one fact will escalate you to a new level of wine knowledge. You’ll be almost invincible at matching wine with food.
The Auxerrois variety is a difficult to grow grape in most wine regions, but Viewpointe’s particular terroir in Essex Pelee Island Coast (EPIC) happens to be very Auxerrois-friendly. Good news for Ontario wine consumers.
And the other bit of good news is that you get 9 BONUS AIR MILES between now and January 4, 2014. Why not buy a case. That’s a LOT of Air Miles.
What’s Auxerrois taste like? Somewhat reminiscent of a Riesling, but it also has a hint of spice like a Gruner Veltliner. Yep, it’s a cool little wine to bring along to your next wine and food ditty!
The wine is currently in 60 stores. Here’s the inventory position for the top few stores. If you are in WATERLOO, KITCHENER, OTTAWA, or TORONTO, you’re lucky to have good volumes to stock up. Here’s the complete list of inventory by store.
Plans are afoot to loosen Ontario’s rigid liquor laws. Let’s not get too excited though, these are just baby steps. The government has announced a new $75-million wine strategy.
Premier Wynne said a wine secretariat will be created to boost the province’s industry. And she will also loosen Ontario’s rigid liquor laws to allow the sale of Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines, which are made from Ontario-grown grapes, at farmers markets “in a socially responsible way.”
I’m at Chateau Jean Faure in St. Emilion. I feel like I’m home. The sunny disposition, soil, and general feeling of this place seem familiar and magical.
The chateau’s historic roots, its reference terroir, and a passionate owner: Olivier Decelle make it very special. Monsieur Decelle explains: “This is a historic terroir. There are two main parts to the terroir of Saint Emilion, limestone and clay. Here we are in the clay and iron dross part, and in fact it is more Pomerol, the plot touches Château l’Evangile in Pomerol, it neighbours Cheval Blanc, and this section over here is close to Petrus and Château Figeac, which is 50 % Cabernet Franc. This gives a lot of tension and structure to the wines. They may be difficult to understand when you first taste them, but they’ve received exceptional care and have a personality that delights me.”
We had a chance to get a tour of the wine cellars, vineyards, and the section of the chateau where you can stay.
Chateau Jean Faure is an 18 hectare estate in St. Emilion. They have old vines that are 40 years old. Vinification is in 80 hectoliter concrete vats that are shaped slightly differently than you find in many St. Emilion cellars. The vats are wider, similar to those in Burgundy.
Stephane Derenoncourt is consulting winemaker. The estate has one of the largest concentrations of Cabernet Franc and Malbec planted in the entire Bordeaux appellation. Production is close to 8,000 cases per year.
Grapes are carefully placed in small temperature-controlled vats without being crushed. Fermentation occurs with indigenous yeasts. The cap is punched four times per day with a minimum of pump overs. Maceration is about 21 days. Maturation is for 18 months in French Oak Barrels. The final blend is a combination of 50% new oak (with malolactic fermentation in barrels) and 50% in concrete vats.
The estate offers a single wine.
2010 Château Jean-Faure St. Émilion Grand Cru
The wine is a blend of 54% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot and 6% Malbec. Deep garnet colour and a subtle nose of black raspberries, licorice and dusty earthy scents. The palate is elegant and fresh with a long finish. This is a balanced, complex, sweet, full bodied St. Emilion. And it was a grand year for Cabernet Franc in St. Emilion.
A rustic elegance dominates. The building was gutted and refurbished in 2006, with ample original beams and stone blocks. This is a beautiful place to stay; just a short drive or an easy walk into the historic and ridiculously gorgeous village of St. Emilion.