Friday, January 20, 2006

WINE and CHEESE!! ....IS THERE ANYTHING BETTER?..When did this wine and cheese party fad begin? In the early 90's I believe. Did you ever go to a gathering where the cheese actually matched the wines? Not likely. At most of these affairs you would see the inevitable trays with cheese slices dutifully arranged with the requisite number of olives and other eye catching condiments. Of course then we became more sophisticated and experts from around the world made recommendtions on what cheese really goes well with a particular wine or the other way around what wine should you serve with that exquisite cheese you carefully selected at your favourite cheese shop. For me that would be Carmen's place on Foul Bay road in Victoria.
Back inOctober of 2005 a distinguished goup of foodies and wine tasters were brought together by Marjorie King at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland BC. The results were published in no less a distinguished scientific publication than the Journal of Food Quality.So there it was. Now we can go forward, confident in the knowledge that experts are giving us the scientific information we so much needed before making those critical wine and cheese purchases. I was thrilled to find out there was a cheese and wine heaven. But wait... whats this?
Another proclamation by another distinguished panel What are we to do now? Don't know about you but I sure love it when I do get that wine and cheese match that is a delight to the palate. Port and Stilton? Of course its a winner. Recently I tasted a Blue Gouda that was just divine with the 2001 Tradizione del Nonno Primitivo di Manturia. It is a huge, robust and fruity wine with a velvety smooth finish. At 16% alcohol it has a Port like quality. Bring on the roasts, game and pastas but especially the blue gouda. Have you tried a BC Icewine with Camenbert? There are lots of good combinations. France produces oustanding cheeses and they go extremely well with the local wines. Do you have a favourite cheese and wine combination? If you want to share it with us let us know.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wine glut Yes?....No?

Thought I would start this posting with showing you a picture of my wine buddy. Her name is Maddy and she has excellent tasting skills.Check her out on my profile page. The 2005 vintage created a grape glut in most wine regions around the world, especially in Australia. California also had record grape crops. This should benefit the consumer in the short haul. Lower per ton cost for grapes should translate into a reduced cost for a bottle of wine. Meanwhile the surplus wine in Europe is causing some serious concern. In France in particular not only are they concerned about an overproduction but wine exports have slipped. New World wines, particularly in Britain have garnered a larger share of the market at the expense of French wines. But the French are fighting back. Those unruly southern French vintners in the Languedoc region, the CRAV(Regional Committee for Viticultural Action) blame their problems on the Bordeaux vignerons. Meanwhile back at the ranch, the Bordelais don't agree. Help is on its way. World wide there is an increased consumption of wine. With a more affluent middle class in India and China wine consumption in
the countries is on the rise. Norway is also changing its drinking habits. Sounds good so far. Only problem is that both India and China have massive acreages planted to vines. Both of these countries are bringing in international experts and winemakers in an attempt to start producing quality wines.China has recently completed a deal where some of their wines will be available at duty free shops at select airports around the globe. Now Chile is set to cash in on the world wine
market. In the immediate future there will be plenty of cheap wine out there but as the collective tongue of wine drinkers around the world becomes more educated the demand for high quality wines will increase. In spite of the glut of wines, with an incredible 2005 vintage in the Bordeaux expect to pay huge increases for the top chateaux wines.Meanwhile things are heating up in the south of France. Pardon my French but what a strange way of getting rid of the surplus. Sure would have been a lovely aroma on the highways and byways of southern France.View the video on this link. Till next time, enjoy your wines and remember as Pliny the Elder, the Roman Scholar once said when asked "What is the best kind of wine?" He would reply "The best kind of wine is that which is most pleasant to him who drinks it."