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

Share
Written by (click for further articles)

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

Share
Written by (click for further articles)

Tequila Patron

May 23, 2009 1:07 pm | Posted by James M

Fine tequila still remains one of the great underrated spirits, and this despite the introduction of a number of ‘ultra premium’ brands. It is also still commonly perceived as a beverage to be drunk in shots, and to be a rough spirit that is guaranteed to give one a severe hangover. This is due essentially to the fact that many of the big branded tequilas are blended and use only up to 49% of the agave spirit from which tequila evolves. The rest is made up from various other sugar canes, and as such the quality of these tequilas tends to be low, along with the price, and as such the drink has somewhat of a mixed reputation.

However, if one is prepared to spend a little more, the wonderful world of real tequila and the variety of flavours and characters becomes apparent. When looking for decent tequila, the first and most crucial thing to look for is that it is made from 100% agave (It will state this on the label). This means that the spirit is not blended with sugar cane, and as such one will find an altogether smoother, purer and more complex drink, containing a multitude of extraordinary flavours. These are further developed through the oak ageing process- Silver is unoaked, resposado slightly oaked, and anejo where the tequila can rest in oak barrels for a number of years.

Tequilas that are 100% agave tend to be more expensive as the agave cactus is at a premium, essentially due to the huge amount of low quality tequila produced to serve the world market. The agave plant takes around eight years to grow until the cabeza is ready for fermentation, and so they tend to be in short supply, hence the increased price for the higher quality product.

There are many premium brand tequilas on the market, all of which are worth a try due to the variety of flavours. A great starting point would be to try the Patron range of tequilas, which are all simply stunning, and are perfect examples of exactly what this spirit can offer. Beautifully packaged in hand crafted bottles and with an exquisite attention to detail, I really cannot recommend these tequilas highly enough.

There is one thing that I need to make clear though- to really enjoy these tequilas, do not shoot them. Sip them either neat or with ice, as one would a fine brandy or whisky, and then you will get the most out of them. After that don’t forget to get the shaker out and make some fine margaritas!

The Patron Tequilas: 

Patron Silver Tequila is a simply stunning clean and pure tequila, and many experts mark this as their favourite due to its soft and light character, as opposed to the richer oakier versions. This is the perfect tequila to create a really refreshing Margarita as it has an excellent balance of citrus, acidity, and smoothness. The refinement of this tequila means it is also highly recommended sipped on the rocks.

Patron Reposado Tequila contains the same qualities as the silver, but is oak aged for six months. This imparts a slight oaky tang to the finish on the palate and therefore has a less clean yet more complex palate. This can be used for those who prefer a slightly richer Margarita, and is also excellent neat.

Patron Anejo Tequila is blended from a selection of tequilas which have all been aged in small white oak barrels for a minimum of twelve months. It is a very subtle and complex tequila and is distinctive in that each batch has a blend variation to produce perfectly balanced tequila. This is soft and refreshing, yet highly complex due to the wood ageing, and along with the subtle citrus notes, it has nuances of gingerbread. Patron Anejo Tequila should be sipped neat or on the rocks.

Gran Patron Platinum Tequila is billed as the “world’s finest platinum tequila”- big words, but this may just be true. Triple distilled, this is incredibly smooth and elegant, with soft notes of citrus and pepper. For those extravagant cocktail drinkers out there, Gran Patron Platinum Tequila will make you a simply sublime margarita that will be a once in a lifetime experience. This wonderful tequila comes in a handmade crystal bottle, which is hand signed and individually numbered, and is further packaged in a deluxe maple wood box.

Patron Gran Burdeos Tequila is an extraordinary tequila which is aged in a mixture of American oak and French oak for twelve months. It is then re-distilled, and then racked in Bordeaux barrels from some of the top Chateau. This gives this tequila a fruity aroma reminiscent of fine Bordeaux, and an unbelievable complexity and depth of character. This really does need to be sipped as one would a fine Cognac, to fully appreciate the quality. Patron Gran Burdeos comes beautifully packaged in a hand crafted wooden box made from black walnut, along with a custom corkscrew and a crystal stopper.

Tequila Patron XO Cafe Liqueur is a blend of ultra premium tequila and the natural essence of fine coffee. Unlike most coffee liqueurs, this is dry, but has a concentrated richness from the slightly higher alcohol volume. This is beautiful sipped over ice, smooth and velvety with an elegant tequila balance, and can even be used as a dessert topping. Mixologists are currently using this wonderful liqueur in a variety of cocktails at the moment, and highly recommended are the Café Royal, the Garter Belt, the XO Nightcap, and the Ladies Night.

 

HAPPY  TEQUILA  DAYS

Share
Written by (click for further articles)