Monday, November 26, 2007

Food and Wine matching... don't drink vintage wine!

Much has been written these past few weeks about what wine to drink with your Thanksgiving turkey. Now that the entertaining season is here I am sure we will see lots more on the subject of food and wine matching.
"WHAT to DRINK with WHAT you EAT" is a great source of information and is a must have if you are interested in food and wine matching. Another good source is the extensive list offered by Natalie MacLean at Nat Decants
Hugh Johnson received a flurry of attention when he recently claimed that vintages do not matter any more. And of course he is right and of course he is wrong. Modern wine making technology can almost rescue even a bad vintage but
some years the wine gods do smile particularly favorably on
vineyards with resulting outstanding wines. But I don't think Hugh meant it literally, he just meant that wine makers have a lot of options today to make better wines on an almost yearly basis. After all, as one writer observed, Hugh's Annual Pocket Wine Book would become obsolete if every vintage turned out the same. Got me thinking though about outstanding vintage wines. Would you really match them with a great meal? Or does a special meal deserve to be matched with a good wine and the great vintage wine left to be enjoyed all on its own? I love matching food and wine but I would rather save my collection of better wines for a special occasion. In fact drinking them is the special occasion.
So now that we don't have to worry about great vintages anymore what is left? Terroir of course! Can you believe it? Those Germans have proved the concept of terroir actually matters.
But then this is something the French have known forever. Talk to any wine maker in the Bordeaux, Burgundy or Champagne regions.
I took this photograph while visiting Champagne.
It is just down and across the road from Taitinger. That's pure chalk and its a perfect terroir for the great wines from Champagne!
As Frank Sinatra once crooned about "Love and Marriage, Go together like a horse and carriage" But I tell you, vintage or non vintage, when you get that perfect match of food and wine, now that is a marriage made in heaven!! Bon appetite!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Wine bloggers everywhere look forward to reading and participating in the very popular blogging feature called
"Wine Blogging Wednesday". A different
host blog and a different theme each month. The theme for this month is "Silver Burgundy"and is hosted by
Brooklynguy's Wine and Food Blog
My first inclination was to participate. Then I read a review of the book pictured here and realized I was in possession of that very same book. And of course this past weekend multi television shows and documentaries covered the special day of November 11. Commemorated throughout the world, it is variously known as Remembrance Day in Australia,Canada and the United Kingdom, Poppy Day in Malta and South Africa, Armistice Day in France and New Zealand and Veterans Day in the United States. So my mind started wandering and wondering about what Burgundy would have become had it not
been liberated by the brave and heroic efforts of the Allied forces. "Wine & War" by Don and Petie Kladstrup gives an excellent account of these wartime events. Then I received an email with John Gebhardt picture taken in Iraq along with this note.

John Gebhardt's wife, Mindy, said that this little girl's entire family was executed. The insurgents intended to execute the little girl also, and shot her in the head ...... but they failed to kill her. She was cared for in John's hospital and is healing up, but she continues to cry and moan. The nurses said John is the only one who seems to calm her down, so John has spent the last four nights holding her while they both slept in that chair. The girls is coming along with her healing.
So instead of reviewing a Silver Burgundy for my post
I am taking a moment to remember and praise those heroic men and women who sacrificed themselves and continue to do so today, so that we may enjoy the remarkable wines from Burgundy. Be sure to visit
Brooklynguy's Wine Blog for what should be a very interesting round up of excellent Burgundians.
Take a moment in your busy hectic day and remember.

Friday, November 09, 2007

More Green Wine, Please!

One of the leading producers of fine wines sold in alternative packaging is the Boisset family in France. The French Rabbit in the Tetra pack first released in Ontario has become popular all over North America. Another recent release is the Yellow Jersey series and again Ontario was chosen for its release. The Yellow Jersey of course was made famous by the Tour de France.
The wines come in plastic bottles the size of a water bottle used on bikes. Enjoy your wine, then recycle it to your bike. How green can that be?

In a recent posting on Dr.Vino's wine blog,
Tyler Coleman discussed the "carbon footprint of wine"
This thoroughly researched paper was published as a working paper for the American Association of Wine Economists, and
may be viewed
here in pdf format. While there are some fascinating facts, lets put some of the figures in perspective. The production and distribution of wine represents 0.08 percent of global GHG emissions.
Meanwhile over at Good Grape, Jeff Lefevere informs us that manufacturing cement is really bad for GHG emisions. In fact, it accounts for 7% to 8%
of global greenhouse gas emissions. Now that is significant. And while we are at it how about the burning of those Indonesian peatlands? That contributes another 4%.
Lets go back for a moment to wine's contribution of 0.08 percent. We are told that is an equivalent to fuel combustion emissions of 1 million passenger vehicles over one year. The latest figures available from a DOT study done in 2004 shows there were 243,023,485 registered passenger vehicles in the US. The latest figures out of China show an increase of 10 to 20% annually in cars and that by 2010 that country will have 55 million vehicles on the road.

When you know that a Hummer only gets you 9 miles to a gallon (31 L/100 km), wine is obviously not a major culprit. Singling out wine drinkers and expecting them to drink their wines according to a green line seems a bit too much to ask. Especially since the
US is set to become the largest wine consuming nation on earth. Oh and yes the Chinese are also increasing their consumption of wine. How green do you think their vineyards will be with increased demand for the fruit of the vine? Now don't get me wrong , I am all for saving the environment.

And the wine industry should be concerned and involved. One of the leading voices on climate change and its effects on vineyards is Pancho Campo, the president of the Wine Academy of Spain. He has been preaching the message for years now. I just hope that wine drinkers everywhere will not have to carry an unfair proportion of taxes to fix the problem. By the way according to Tyler Coleman's report wine shipped in 1.5 liter bottles weigh 4kg less per case than 750 ml bottles. So as you can see, I am doing my bit with that Nebuchadnezzar. And oh yes, my car is a convertible and just think how much energy I am saving by not turning on the air conditioner.
So in the meantime I will think green while drinking my red.