With autumn's shorter days, longer nights and the advent of cooler weather, thoughts turn to heartier foods and wines. In that spirit, we offer you our impressions on wines from Southern Italy, specifically Sicily and Puglia, tasted during our visit to Vinitaly 2011.
November is an especially busy month for wine events in the province. In Toronto, chef Alida Solomon of Tutti Matti welcomes winemaker 'The Butcher's Daughter' Eleonora Pieri to host a 5-course Tuscan tasting menu. Locally, at Gourmandissimo, we'll present the wines of Burgundy paired with a special Burgundian menu created by chef Gilles Roche. And finally, join us at the inaugural Waterloo Region Food & Wine Show for tastings and mini seminars.
As always, we invite our 'friends in wine' to request travel tips on Italy, Spain, or Australia. We're happy to share our recommendations on favourite places to eat, stay, and visit, and arrange for personalized winery visits if your travel plans take you to any of these wonderful destinations.
Ric Kitowski Jocelyn Klemmric@thewinecoaches.com email@example.com
Wine Dinner Club
The Food & Wine of Burgundy
We can't believe the year has gone by so quickly. After five really fun evenings, starting with the food and wine of Spain in January, we are now at the end of our first series, featuring the food and wine of the Burgundy region of France.
Let us know if you have suggestions for themes, countries, or regions for next year. The 2012 schedule will be in our next newsletter.
As always, dinner starts at 7pm and will be held in the Bartlett Room at Gourmandissimo (16023 Airport Road, in Caledon East). Seating is limited. Price per evening is $75.00 per person, plus applicable taxes and gratuity.
Menu for Wine and Food of Burgundy
Friday November 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm
(Traditional ham terrine with parsley served with frisée salad)
(Eggs poached in red wine)
La Maison du Crémant Brut Crémant de Bourgogne, Moillard
Escargot de Bourgogne
(Escargots in rich garlic butter)
Château de la Saule Montagny Premier Cru 2009, Roy-Thevenin
(Beef stew with mushrooms, pearl onion and European-style bacon, served with fresh noodles)
Côtes du Nuit Villages 2009, Maison Roche de Bellene
Delice de Bourgogne, Prestige de Bourgogne served with hazelnut wafers
Les Terres Bleues Côte de Brouilly 2009, Collin-Bourisset
Pain d'epice de Dijon
(Poached pear in red wine)
|Polish Edition of "Clueless About Wine" |
Just as we were going to press with this Newsletter we learned that the Polish translation of our book was published. In English, it's called "Wine: How To Be An Expert", and was published by Wydawnictwo RM in Warsaw.
We haven't seen a copy yet, but if you read Polish there's more infomation on the publisher's Web site.
|Italian Wine Report |
In our last newsletter we mentioned we travelled to Italy in April to attend the annual Vinitaly International Wine & Spirits Expo in Verona. This was the 45th edition of the show, and our sixth visit since 2001, and as always a great opportunity to re-connect with the producers we represent and taste their newest vintages. It's also a great place to find new producers and we were happy to be able to add a few to our portfolio -- more on that in a future newsletter
We've reported on the our tastings from three wineries in Northern Italy in the TWC Imports portfolio, now we'll focus on Central Italy(Tuscany, Marches, and Umbria).
Some of our more entertaining tastings are with our Tuscan producers -- Sant' Appiano, Poggio Amorelli, and Fattoria La Lecciaia -- and this year was now exception. Besides being able to try some fantastic wines, we are always treated to some interesting new foods or a unique friend. At the Sant' Appiano stand, we not only got to try on some fantastic handmade hats, we also met the son of the famous Kurt Hamrin, Italy's 7th highest goalscorer in Serie A.
We meet Sig. Mauro Pacini at his Stand at noon on Day 1, just after our great tasting with Aldo Degani. Amarone and Brunello back-to-back in one morning -- every day should start this way!
Sig. Pacini is positive about the outlook for Brunello, noting enthusiastically that 2006 and 2007 are 5 star vintages, 2008 and 2009 will be 4 star vintages, and 2010 will probably mean a return to 5 stars. Only 2004, 2005, and 2006 have been bottled and we got to try the full range.
We are still selling the 2004 and 2004 Riserva vintages of Brunello (and 2005 in half-bottle format) and we are really looking forward to the '06 wines. The normale was "classic", an elegant and silky style, and was rewarded with a 93pt score from James Suckling (formerly of Wine Spectator). The '06 Manapetra -- a single-vineyard Brunello only made in outstanding vintages -- was probably one of the best we've ever tasted. Rich and elegant, with blue fruit aromas and flavours and a long silky finish. Hard to spit out that one.
We finished the tasting with the super-Tuscan blend 2005 Il Baccanale. This has always been one of our favourite wines and the '05 did not disappoint. Look for this wine on our list in early 2012, at a special new price. An outstanding value for this deep, rich wine.
Marco had his own Stand this year. And he also had some amazing cheeses and salumi. So welcome as we had missed lunch that day because of a busier than expected tasting schedule.
We were looking for a specific Sangiovese wine for Bertoldi's and we found it in Gode II, Marco's Rosso di Toscana wine. A blend of 70% Sangiovese, 20% Canaiolo, and the rest white grapes, it is a modern take on the traditional Chianti blend. Dark fruit aromas, great balance, and a nice clean finish. Terrific value.
We've started to bring in the '08 Chianti Classico and the '07 Chianti Classico Riserva and we were happy with the way both wines have turned out.
You could be having the worst day of the show, and if you see Pierfrancesco that all changes. He must be one of the happiest winemakers we know -- always a smile and a positive perspective on life. And always great wines to taste.
It was our first taste of the 2009 Chianti and it was more balanced than usual at this point in its development. The sample had just been bottled yet it tasted so smooth and balanced. The '07 Cottacio (100% Sangiovese) was a big full-bodied wine and the '06 Monteloro so rich and round. We left the Stand thinking about ways to start working these wines into our regular portfolio.
Now on its 2nd vintage, the 2007 Syrah was another amazing wine. It had everything you'd expect in an old-World style Syrah, and more.
We were happy to learn that in 2010, Sangiovanni vineyards were certified organic. It's been a long hard process but Gianni is happy that he finally achieved the certification. We tasted some of the white wines from this vintage, however the reds are still a few years away.
One of the highlights of the white wines was the 2010 Falerio (a blend of Trebbiano, Passerina, and Pecorino (making up 80%) and 20% made up of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Needless to say it was wonderfully aromatic and full of fresh acidity and minerality. Look for this wine in 2012.
Gianni had held the 2007 Leo Guelfus Rosso Piceno back an extra year and it showed. This was the deepest, darkest. smokiest version we've tried of this wine with the right amount of tannin and a long, smooth finish. This will be on our next order and due in around February/March.
We always start our tastings with Roberto with a glass of Jacopone, the 100% Chardonnay made in the classic method. It's had 2 years on the lees, and tastes almost indistinguishable from champagne.
The Bianco del Cavaliere Grechetto di Todi DOC was another outstanding aromatic white from the 2010 vintage. Grechetto di Todi is Todini's own clone of the Grechetto grape and is now recognized as a DOC wine.
Of the reds, 2006 Rubro was a stand out as was the super-Umbrian (a 50-50 Cabernet Franc-Merlot blend) 2006 Nero de Cervara. The latter having dark cherry and plum aromas and flavours with medium tannins and a long smooth finish. A wine for steak lovers for sure.
While we actually didn't officially meet this producer at Vinitaly, we did visit the winery a few days later when we travelled to Florence. The Pieri family treated us to a wonderful home-cooked Tuscan meal after touring their winery, which included some of Carlo's famous salumi. We've started to work with two of their wines -- 2008 Tribolo Montecucco Rosso DOC and 2006 Pian di Staffa Riserva -- and we are pleased to have Eleonora in Toronto this week for two dinners at Tutti Matti. More on that below.
In our next newsletter we will cover Southern Italy, and introduce the newest wineries that have joined the portfolio.
Seasonal Entertaining, Italian Style
From Maria Filice, Breaking Bread in L'Aauilla
'Tis the season of entertaining, and a time to relax and 'break bread' with loved ones. Our good friend Maria Filice created this sumptuous platter of antipasti that features recipes from her wonderful cookbook, "Breaking Bread in L'Aquila".
Prosciutto with Melon / Prosciutto e Melone
Caprese Salad / Insalata Caprese
Roasted Peppers / Peperoni Arrostiti
Grilled Eggplant with Cured Black Olives and Basil / Melanzane alla Griglia con Olive e Basilico
Smoked Ricotta with Pepper / Ricotta Affumicata e Peperoncino
With Maria's compliments, we include a recipe for one of the items. Recipes for the rest can be found in her book Breaking Bread in L'Aquila.
Grilled Eggplant with Cured Black Olives and Basil
2 medium eggplants, sliced ˝" thick, skin on
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
pinch each of dried oregano and dried chili flakes
salt and freshly ground pepper
6 - 8 leaves fresh basil, torn
18 small black cured olives
Heat a grill pan or grill to medium high. Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil with minced garlic in small bowl. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with garlic oil, and then sprinkle each side with oregano, chili flakes, salt and pepper.
Place eggplant on preheated hot grill. Grill for about 10 minutes, turning once at the halfway point, until the eggplant is tender yet not mushy.
Place grilled eggplant on a platter. Sprinkle with the basil, drizzle with remaining olive oil, and top with the olives. Serve warm or cold.
Wine Match: Sparkling wine is a perfect match for antipasti, or any appetizers for that matter. Staying with the Italian theme that means Prosecco. Ideally a fully-sparkling (Spumante) style.
For more easy and delicious recipes, pick up a copy of Breaking Bread in L'Aquila, and sign up for Maria's food and fate blog .
Dinner with "The Butcher's Daughter"
The wines of Poggio Stenti at Tutti Matti Restaurant
Chef Alida Solomon is hosting an exclusive wine five-course tasting dinner with Eleonora Pieri of Poggio Stenti, a farm/vineyard in Montecucco, Tuscany. Eleonora is an emerging young star in the world of winemaking, and the daughter of one of the most renowned artisanal butchers in Tuscany, Carlo Pieri.
Date & Time
Two evenings -- Tuesday, November 15th and Wednesday, November 16th, 2011, at 7:00pm
Tutti Matti Ristorante Toscana
364 Adeliade Street West
Toronto (one block east of Spadina)
Prcing and Reservations
Dinner is $80 per person, including wine (excluding taxes and gratuity). Only 60 seats are available each evening -- please call to reserve your table. E-mail Seneca or call the restaurant directly.
Waterloo Region Food & Drink Expo
In the Kitchener Market
We are very excited to be exhibiting at the very first food and drink show in the Waterloo Region. Presented by the Kitchener Market and the Downtown Kitchener BIA, the show will be held November 24-26, 2011 at the Kitchener Market.
Thursday, November 24th -- 5-10pm (with a special VIP time 5-7pm)
Friday, Novermber 25th -- 3-10pm (although our section is only open 6-10pm)
Saturday, November 26th -- 3-10pm
The Show organizers have been great to work with and for this event we will have a dual booth. We will be pouring some of our great new wines at the TWC Imports tasting table at the front of the booth, and behind that we will be offering 10 seminars during the show in the "The Coaches Corner". There is a nominal charge for each seminar, and we will cover topics from "How to Taste Like a Pro", to "Finding Your Wine Style", to "Navigating a Wine List" and every session will involve some wine tasting.
Hope to see you there.
Fine Dining on Eglinton Way
Ha Long Bay Bistro
This week, picturesque Ha Long Bay in Vietnam joined a select list of natural wonders in the New7Wonders competition. More than 440 locations in over 200 countries were nominated, and the top seven were recognized as the planet's best wonders of nature.
For a taste of Ha Long Bay closer to home, we highly recommend a visit to Ha Long Bay Bistro, located in the Eglinton Way, just west of Avenue Road. Chef/owner Lynn Hoang has always had a passion for cooking. She learned to cook at home - her maternal grandmother was from north Vietnam and her mother from the south - and then trained professionally here and in Asia.
Most of the dishes on the menu are family recipes that have been passed down for generations, while others are inspired by the chef's travels.
The wine list at Ha Long Bay Bistro is focused, offering wines that highlight the pure, yet complex flavours of the cuisine.
Address: 525 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto
Ordering wine is really quite easy.
If you find you are entertaining more at home now, our new TWC Imports Web site makes it easy to select and order wine. We have paired our wines to different foods/courses and the quick "Food Search" tool is easy to use. Pick your dish and we offer a few wine options that should work. Once you have made your selection you can order straight from the site or, if you prefer, send us an e-mail and we will complete your order. If you aren't interested in purchasing a case of wine at this time but would like to try our wines, we encourage you to look at the Restaurant Database. The database has descriptions of the restaurants that we work with, the style of food they offer, as well as address information, all linked to the wine database. When you find a wine you like, open the tab marked "Where To Taste" and look for a restaurant near you where it's offered.
You can also search the restaurant database for a style of cuisine and location that suits you, then open the "TWC Wine" tab and see which of our wines is on their list. Either way, we are fortunate to be working with some terrific Ontario restaurants and every one comes personally recommended.
We add wines and restaurants all the time so please check back often to find something new.
Sparkling Wine Feature
A Consignment Wine (Ontario Residents Only)
Cava Brut Reserva 2008
Agustí Torelló Mata
Price: $24/bottle, in cases of 6 bottles (excluding HST and bottle deposit).
Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine made following the same traditional method as France's champagne, but with different grape varieties. This wine is made from a blend of 48% Macabeo, 25% Xarel-lo, and 27% Parellada grapes, hand-picked from 30+ year old vines. Second fermentation, the one that makes the bubbles, took place in the bottle (like champagne) with a minimum of 24 months aging on the lees. Bottles are disgorged (the way to get the spent yeast cells, or lees, out of the bottle) individually, and only when required for market to ensure optimum condition of the finished wine.
Wine Note: Pale straw-yellow colour, with very fine bubbles that evolve slowly in the glass. Aromas and flavours of fresh ripe apple and pear, ripe grapefruit and subtle leesy notes of caramel, kiwi, and citrus (tangerine and lime). Balanced and rich, with a long and elegant finish.
This is one of the driest Cavas on the market (Brut) with approximately 5.5g/L residual sugar.
The Producer: In the heart of the Penedes, near the town of Sant Sadurni d'Anoia, Agustí Torelló Mata produces a range of high quality Cava, perhaps most notably for Kripta, unqiue for its extended ageing and handmade amphora-shaped bottle.
Agustí Torelló Mata is family owned and run; each of the four Torelló siblings has an active role in the business. They only produce Cava and its products are highly regarded by some of Spain's most famous restaurants.
There has been a movement recently in Spain to use the more fashionable higher producing grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Cava blend. Agustí Torelló stands firmly with tradition and flavour, by using only Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Perellada, and Trepat (for the Cava rosé). The production of Agusti Torello Mata is very limited due, among other things, to the age of their vines.
Food Match: A great wine for celebration, but when it comes to matching with food this wine is ideal for appetizer courses, seafood -- especially oysters and other shellfish -- ase well vegetarian and lighter meat dishes.
Purchase: Visit the TWC Imports site for more details.
A Great Top-Rated Italian Classic (Ontario Residents Only)
Barolo Ravera DOCG 2005
Price: $59.00/bottle (including HST and bottle deposit).
LCBO Information: Orignally released in the Spring Classics Catalogue , the limited stock that remains has now been released to 11 stores in and around the GTA. To check availability the CSPC number is 216341.
About the Wine: Barolo is one the classic Italian wines, and one of the most ageworthy. This wine is made from Lampia and Michet clones of Nebbiolo. Following a temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged for 12 months in large Allier barrels (40% new), 12 months in 25hl Slavonian oak barrels, and a further 6 months in bottle before release. The extended aging process accentuates the terroir attributes.
This wine was awarded 2 glasses out of 3 by Italy's Gambero Rosso magazine. Also, 93 points Wine Spectator, 92 points Wine Advocate (Antonio Galloini), and 90 points Wine & Spirits magazine.
About the Producer: Located in Ravera, the important Barolo sub-zone of Novello, Azienda Agricola Elvio Cogno is owned and operated by Valter Fissore and his wife Nadia Cogno. Even after four generations of winemaking culture, this family-run business still operates with the same pride and passion as when their ancestors first started working the land.
Ravera is the great Novello Cru. It is relatively high altitude (380m) and benefits from a southern exposure. The Cru terroir is expressed in a wine with aromatic finesse, full-flavoured palate, and great complexity.
Estate vineyards constitute 9 hectares, planted to the traditional red Langhe grapes: Barolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto. Winemaking follows more traditional methods in the newly restored winery, while attention to detail in the vineyards, temperature-controlled fermentations, and the careful use of both large and small oak barrels for aging ensures only the best wines are put forward to the consumer. These efforts were rewarded in 2005 and 2009 when 2001 and 2004 Barolo Ravera were awarded the prestigious 3 glass award - Tre Bicchieri - by Italy's Gambero Rosso magazine. Their top Barolo - Vigna Elena 2001 - had already received this award, and most recently the new single-vineyard Barolo Bricco Pernice '05.
Our Tasting Note: Clean and bright - intense garnet red core, with a slight bricking rim. The nose is deep and elegant, with dark fruit aromas - blackberry and dark plum - with complex mint, spice, dark chocolate, truffle, and leather notes. On the palate the wine is balanced, full-bodied, round, with firm tannins and an elegant finish.
Menu match: Nebbiolo is a particualry tannic grape, and as such needs protein to tame the astringency. The ideal match is meat, grilled, braised, or whatever your preference.
Meet Us on the Web
We're on Twitter!
If you haven't visited us for a while, please take a look at www.thewinecoaches.com and see what we've done. There are new blog postings every week.
One of the main goals of the new site was to keep it fresh and current, which meant being 100% in control of the content. Valerie incorporated tools that make it easy to add, edit, delete, and organize our articles.
As we develop the site, we hope to make it a strong resource site for your wine and wine-related needs. You can also buy our book , Clueless about Wine, directly from the site using PayPal.
We are working on adding itineraries of past trips in case you are visiting the same places and want a recommendation for a unique winery or restaurant. Some of these itineraries may have appeared in past issues of this Newsletter, but many will be new. If you have any requests of us for the site, please send us an e-mail.
If you have a Twitter account you can follow as at @TheWineCoaches where we will be tweeting regularly about wines we taste, restaurants we visit, and new things we hear about wine and food. Our aim is to make the tweets useful -- you don't need to know when we are shopping at Zehrs do you?
|Jazz Up Your Meeting
Want to try something different at your next company meeting? The Wine Coaches offers a range of wine workshops customized to the needs of your group, whatever the size and level of wine expertise. Most requested workshops topics are:
- Discovering Your Wine Style
- Navigating a Wine List/Wine Store
- Entertaining with Wine
- Food and Wine Matching
All workshops are interactive, informative, and experiential. Particpants put theory into practice by tasting a variety of wines during the workshop. Contact The Wine Coaches for more information or to book a workshop for your group.
As a unique wine-themed gift, we also issue gift certificates for wine cellar appraisals, cases of wine (offer valid in Ontario only), or for future wine-themed events.
Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter. We'd love to hear your comments.
Richard Kitowski & Jocelyn Klemm
The Wine Coaches