Foods for the Summer Months

July 29, 2012 6:42 pm | Posted by Graham D

FOOD and WINE PAIRING—FOODS FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS
(continuation from blog  “ Food and Wine pairing”  dated 7 July 2012)

INTRODUCTION:—--this blog and the many more following will examine the pleasurable and often complex relationship between good food and wine, with the ultimate aim to assist our many discerning customers evolve the convivial bonding of good food and wine.

FOOD BEING FEATURED:—–FOODS FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS - that can be enjoyed either hot, warm or cold.
A few examples of alfresco dishes would be : Quiche Lorraine, Onion and Tomato Flan, Stuffed Big Beef  Tomatoes, Chicken and Savoury Pies , Mushroom and Ham Tarts, Meat Loaves, Tapas style dishes and Picnic food.
(See a previous Blog for Pairing Summer Barbeque foods with Wine)

CHALLENGES:—–Another interesting and challenging bridge to cross, but if we group the foods into categories that represent similarity in strength of taste and textures, we then strike a good chance of pleasing most people :

- foods with an egg influence and creamy textures such as quiches and savoury tarts
- vegetable based dishes including green salads
- cold meat dishes with pickles and chutney
- cold seafood dishes including smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, soused herring and prawn/lobster cocktail

RECOMMENDATIONS:—–

- COLD SEAFOOD DISHES - a sparkling wine such as Saumur Brut Ackerman served as cold as possible would be a perfect match. For white wine lovers, another recommendation that would be most appealing is a crisp and dry Sauvignon Blanc from a vineyard of high standing in both hemispheres of the world.

- VEGETABLES AND SALADS - here a Pinot Grigio would work well or even a Frascati from the Lazio region of Italy. The Italians eat huge amounts of vegetables in the summer months, hence two Italian wines

- EGG BASED DISHES - try a creamy style Chardonnay from Simon Hackett Wines in McLaren Valley, Australia which matches well with this array of foods. If you prefer a wine with a little texture and body then check out a fine Viognier from Babich Vineyard in New Zealand.

- COLD MEAT DISHES - lots of scope although my preference would be light bodied reds such as Fleurie from Domaine du Penlois  or  Pinot Noir from  Hunter’s Vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand . Either wine will stand alone for its own enjoyment and will not in any way diminish the taste and flavours of the dishes in question.

MAIN DIRECTORY:—--click on THE MARRIAGE OF FOOD AND WINE to access our quick search facility to locate hundreds of other food/wine/food pairing options, including hors-d’oeuvres, starters, soups, main courses and desserts. Also view GREAT FRIENDS – CHEESE AND WINE for cheese and wine pairing.

NEXT ARTICLE:—–SUMMER DESSERTS

HAPPY FOODS FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS PAIRING DAYS

Graham D

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Bodegas Williams & Humbert Sherries

March 14, 2012 1:09 pm | Posted by Del

Bodegas Williams & Humbert

The history of Bodegas Williams & Humbert goes back nearly 130 years. They participated in the creation of the Jerez-Xeres-Brandy Quality Demarcation and are now considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious wine producers.

The winery was founded in 1877 by Sir Alexander Williams, a great admirer and connoisseur of sherry products and Arthur Humbert, a specialist in international relations. Since then they have preserved part of the original wines and brandies (soleras) in high quality oak casks. These soleras are the base of the development and ageing of every sherry and brandy produced at Bodegas Williams & Humbert.

The following are summaries and tasting notes of many of the Sherries that Williams & Humbert are world famous for :

DRY SAC FINO SHERRY

img_7439This is a very dry Fino Sherry produced from Palomino grapes. Bud musts from the best vineyards undergo cold, still fermentation at 22C. Then they go through early filtering and classification by quality. The best wine distillations are fortified at 15c to be racked in clean casks. They are then put into the traditional system of dynamic ageing employed in Jerez – Criaderas y Soleras- in the 6th criadera cask, where the biological ageing under a layer of yeast takes place in the traditional oak casks, preferably of American oak. The ageing is minimum five years while the wine passes from one criadera to another until it reaches the solera, from which it is drawn out for consumption.

Tasting Notes : A wine of brilliant, pale gold colours. Intense, complex aromas reminiscent of the yeast layer with a hint of almond. Delicate yet full-bodied, with character and elegance. A long aftertaste and nose.

Suggestions with Food : Ideal for aperitifs accompanied by a high quality cheese, ham and seafood dishes. Also excellent with almonds.

DRY SAC MEDIUM SHERRY

img_7437This a blended Oloroso or Medium Sherry produced from Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes. Bud musts undergo controlled fermentation at 28c and fortified with alcohol distilled from wine up to 19.5 degrees. Palomino and Pedro Ximenez are racked into clean casks while waiting to enter the Criaderas y Soleras system. Physical-chemical ageing through oxidation for at least six years, obtaining a slightly sweetened oloroso or medium sherry.

Tasting Notes: An amber-coloured wine of intense aromas suggesting dried nuts. Full bodied and balanced, with little acid and slightly sweet .

Suggestions with Food: It can be drunk neat or with ice. It is recommended as an aperitif or to accompany pasta and rice dishes.

CANASTA SHERRY

canasta-cream_edited-1A sweet Oloroso or Cream Sherry produced from Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes. The bud musts undergo controlled fermentation and fortified at 19.5 degrees. An elegant blend of Palomino and Pedro Ximenez before entering the Criaderas y Soleras system for physical-chemical ageing through oxidation in oak casks. Aged for at least six years. A unique sweet Oloroso or “Cream” Sherry.

Tasting Notes: Sweet Oloroso. Mahogany colour and aromas of dried nuts with a hint of raisins and brown sugar. Smooth, velvety palate with warm alcohol flavours and a persistent aftertaste.

Suggestions for Food : It can be consumed very cold by itself and with desserts, or on ice as a refreshing early evening drink.

WALNUT BROWN SHERRY

img_7441This is a very Sweet Oloroso or Cream Sherry produced from Palomino, Pedro Ximenez and Muscatel grapes. Bud musts undergo controlled fermentation and fortified at 19.5 degrees. Palomino, Pedro Ximenez and Muscatel are blended and racked into clean casks before entering the Criaderas y Solera system for physical-chemical ageing through oxidation in oak casks. Aged for at least four years.

Tasting Notes: Very sweet oloroso.Dark mahogany, almost ebony. On the nose, dried nuts and faint aroma of raisins, muscatel and toasted sugar. Smooth and velvety with a warm palate owing to its alcohol content. A long finish.

Suggestions for Food: It can be consumed very cold by itself and with desserts, or on ice as a refreshing long drink.

WINTER’S TALE SHERRY

img_7443This a slightly sweetened Amontillado or “Medium Sweet” Sherry produced from Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes. The bud must undergoes controlled fermentation and fortified with alcohol distilled from wine at 28 degrees. Palomino and Pedro Ximenez are racked before entering the Criaderas y Soleras system for physical-chemical ageing through oxidation in oak casks. Aged for at least six years. A slightly sweetened oloroso, or “medium sweet” sherry.

Tasting Notes: Brillant amber. Intense aroma of dried nuts. Full bodied and balanced, with low acidity. Sweet and persistent.

Suggestions for Food: To be drunk neat or on ice. Ideal as an aperitif or with pasta and rice dishes.

JALIFA AMONTILLADO 30 YEARS SHERRY

dos-cortados-30yrs_edited-2This a dry Amontillado Sherry produced from Palomino grapes. Bud musts from the best vineyards undergo cold, still decanting and fermentation at 22c. Early filtering, classification by quality and fortified at 15 degrees with the best distilled wines to obtain the traditional racks. Put into the classical Jerez Criaderas y Soleras system of dynamic ageing at the 15th criadera, where the biological ageing takes place under a layer of yeast. Aged in traditional oak casks , preferably American for at least 8 years, after which it is transferred to the 6th criadera for an additional 22 years of natural ageing by oxidation until it reaches the solera. It is then removed for consumption.

Tasting Notes: Bright hues of very old gold and amber. Pungent, intense and complex on the nose, with a subtle note of  fino sherry and a hint of dried nuts and filbert. Dry with excellent acidity, a long, full bodied and elegant palate. A delightfully expressive and unforgettable finish.

Suggestions with Food: An excellent aperitif served with a fine cheese, ham or seafood dishes.

DOS CORTADOS 20 YEARS SHERRY

dos-cortados-20yrs_edited-1A fortified wine, this rare and peculiar dry Pale Cortado Sherry produced from Palomino grapes is halfway between an Amontillado and an Oloroso. Bud musts from the best vineyards undergo cold, still decanting and fermentation at 22c. Early filtration, classification by quality and then the must is fortified at 15degrees with the best distilled wines to obtain the traditional racks. Put into the Criaderas y Soleras system in fino sherry casks for biological ageing. Sporadically, circumstances cause the contents of some casks to behave differently than it is expected – they will not become fino sherry. These casks are “cut” (hence the term “cortado”) with one or two jugs of alcohol to form the base of the palo cortado solera system. The wine is then aged for 20 years until it reaches the solera.

Tasting Notes : Bright hues of very old gold and amber . Pungent, intense and complex on the nose, with a subtle note of filberts and dried fruits. Dry with excellent acidity, a long, full-bodied and elegant palate. An incredibly expressive and unforgettable finish. Sherry with an amontillado nose and an oloroso palate.

Suggestions with Food: Excellent as an aperitif for those long evenings or in short drinks with tapas.

DRY OLOROSO 12 YEARS

dry-oloroso12yrs_edited-1This is a dry Oloroso produced from Palomino grapes. The bud musts undergo controlled fermentation at 28c, then fortified with distilled wine alcohol at up to 19.5degrees. The Palomino enters the racks before entering the Criaderas y Soleras system for physical-chemical ageing through oxidation in oak casks. It is aged for at least 12 years. This is a unique dry Oloroso.

Tasting Notes: Bright amber. Intense aromas characteristic of this type of wine and a hint of dried nuts and fruits. Dry, rich, with smooth tannins, it is luscious and balanced with a long finish.

Suggestions for Food: As an aperitif with mature cheese, at meals with red meats and even as an after-dinner drink.

HAPPY WILLIAMS & HUMBERT SHERRY DAYS

DEL

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Great Armagnac — Domaine Boingneres

August 21, 2009 3:49 pm | Posted by Graham D

Originally founded in 1807 by Jean Boingneres it has for six generations steadfastly maintained the often difficult path of never producing anything but the best armagnacs.

However, it was not until 1953 that the style of armagnacs began to change forever as Leon Lafitte took over the estate when his father-in-law died. He first expanded the vineyard area and second sold bottle stock directly to all the famous restaurants in France, where Boingneres reputation soon became second to none.

He later replanted the vineyards with his favourite grape varieties, principally folle blanche with some ugni blanc and colombard, for which he coined the phrase “Cepages Nobles”. He then built a new press house and ageing cellar and in 1975 a new still was purpose built by Ster to give the greatest extraction of flavour from the wines.

Today Martine Laffite carries on the Boingneres tradition of excellence. The Boingneres armagnacs are distilled to 52% (allowing the maximum of congeners to pass over into the spirit) and then aged in a very specific manner. Half of the new spirit is put into new charred casks of local oak — up to 15 casks per year — and aged for two years, before it is transferred to older wood. The other half goes into two year- old barrels where it remains until required for blending and bottling. No blending of vintages is done after the sixth year and the seperate varieties are carefully watched until Martine Laffite decides which proportion to blend together, or if the spirits should remain separate.

The Laffite family considers armagnac the noblest of products, a masterpiece. Perfection is the family’s everyday quest and this starts with the inimitable terroir of the domaine. The estate is situated in the commune of Le Freche, where the soil, a narrow strip of land only 25km by 8km, is dotted with springs and sheltered by the landes Forest. This small piece of the Bas Armagnac has soil of particular lightness, a siliceous clay mixed with sand and iron elements where only the finest brandies are produced.

 

OUR SELECTION

 

armagnac-1976_edited-13

 Armagnac Ugni Blanc 1976

Produced from Ugni Blanc grapes which give a
 very fine type of spirit. Distilled using a Sier still
which captures all the fine aromas of the wine.
Careful aging begins with half the spirit in new
wood then in older wood, the other half in two
year old barrels until blending and bottling.
Once the Armagnac has been bottled , it stops
aging, hence the importance of the bottling
date on a vintage Armagnac.
 
                   armagnac-1985_edited-11    

 Armagnac Cepages Nobles 1985

Produced from Jean Boingneres favourite grape
varieties mainly Folle Blanche with some Colombard
and Ugni Blanc . Powerful dried fruit flavours with
rich spicy depth and an  amazing length on the finish ,
lots of complexity and balance.   
 

 

 

      armagnac-1984_edited-11                

Armagnac Folle Blanche 1984

Vanilla, spice with citrus touches and violets on the
nose, a softer influence of the Folle Blanche grape comes
through with lighter spicier fruits, some  preserved plum
and a touch of candied orange peel. Elegant long finish
with a little fire

 

 

   armagnac-boingneres_edited-12     

Armagnac Domaine Boingneres

Produced from Cepages Nobles-Folle Blanche,
Ugni Blanc and Colombard, this big flavoured  
armagnac has been specially crafted, aged and
blended for the greatest extraction of fine fruity
flavours.

 

 

 

 

  

 

HELP IN TASTING AN UNREDUCED ARMAGNAC

One can be taken aback by the strength and intensity of an unreduced Armagnac, particulary when relatively young (less than 15 years old) unless it is tasted in a specific way.

In order to appreciate its fullness and finesse, I recommend that after pouring a small quantity into a suitable glass , you wait a few minutes, aerating the liquid in the glass, then you should nose it gently to take in  the complexity of its bouquet.

Then moisten your tongue with a few drops and “chew” on them with your mouth closed so as to line the tastebuds before you swallow.

Armagnac will give as much pleasure to the nose as to the palate. It should be nosed proportionately much more than drunk and the final pleasure is always to smell the empty glass, so so satisfactory.

This is how you will get to know a Bas-Armagnac: its cleanness, its finesse, its many flavours (prune, violet and quince among others). Its lenth on the palate, its elegance, in short its class and breeding. 

 

HAPPY  BOINGNERES  ARMAGNAC  DAYS

GRAHAM  D

 

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