What makes BIG Reds BIG?

What makes BIG Reds BIG?

What makes BIG Reds BIG?

This was the theme of our last Fellinis school of Wine co-hosted with Cyndi Grossman owner of Mellecey Wine Agency. Our audience was treated to three 14.5 % alcohol (that’s big) Reds. If you crave the opulence and the power of a big red wine you are best to search for a wine that is made from grapes that flourish in a hot climate.

A long hot growing season insures that there will be a bountiful ripening at the time of harvest. That means more sugar and more sugar means that the yeasts during fermentation create a higher alcohol level (along with CO2) as the skins juice and pips macerate in large stainless steel or concrete vats. The longer the fermentation the more oomph will be extracted from the  juice. The vinicultural measure of determining the optimum time that sugars and tannins (from the skins and pips) are in balance is called BRIX.

For example a Brix measure of “28” will result in a 14% alcohol content in the wine.

Big wines can handle food with big flavours .This was aptly demonstrated by some of the great dishes that came from Fellini’s kitchen.

Our matches: Two from the Southern Rhone and One from Washington State

Domaine du Tix A.O.C. Cotes du Ventoux “Cuvee Bramefan 2014

Made from 45 year old Syrah vines-Black Cherry, violets and pear.

(Roasted Tomato and Mozzarella stuffed Arancini)

Domaine du Tix A.O.C Cotes du Ventoux “Cuvee Dona Maria” 2014

Silky Morello cherries from 65 year old Grenache vines

(Smoked Chicken Saltimbocca with crispy potato gnocchi, sage and prosciutto)

Seven Falls Cellars Wahluke Slope Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Washington State

Barrel aged in French Oak, black cherries, herbs, mint and spice.

(Chimichurri Steak with cheesy Polenta chips)


Big Reds matched with big flavoured dishes

A match made in Heaven.


Next Wine School Tuesday April 9th 7 pm.

California Here We Come!


Recap from last week's event: "Wine for Valentine's"

Recap from last week's event: "Wine for Valentine's"

Scott’s Wine Blog


Wines Wines for Valentines


Last week I along with my partner in crime Cyndi Grossman hosted a wine tasting at Fellinis.

Considering we were experiencing a horrific ice storm we had a great turnout.

(All public schools were shuttered but Scott’s School of Wine soldiered on.)

Many of us have suffered over the years with a “Chardonnay Overload” .Cyndi brought a stunning white Burgundy that was reminder of how great a chardonnay from the source can be.

Domaine Lucien Jacob Haute Cote de Beaune Blanc 2017.

A beautifully integrated wine with touches of lime, racy minerality with a toasty finish.

The food pairing was a Prosciutto thin crust pizza with Mascarpone and Ricotta Crema, Asiago cheese, Plum tomatoes, and shaved Parmesan

Next we enjoyed a rarity from the Loire-a red Sancerre

Domaine PreSemele Sancerre Rouge 2016

Sancerre is of course famous for making the best sauvignon blanc wines in the world.

The Sancerre Rouge made from Pinot Noir grapes came off not surprising tasting very Burgundian-velvety smooth with a lovely dark berry nose and a long earthy finish.

The food match was Fellinis house smoked Salmon on a Five Cheese Ravioli with roasted garlic, dill cream capers and roasted sweet peppers.

And our wine finale was crowned by a delicious Tempranillo from the Rioja region of Spain.

Valencisco Reserva 2008.

This 10 year old gem was just at its peak with supple mature fruit and a long silky finish.

The food pairing was a Beef Tenderloin Slider with Cambozola on a crunchy Baguette.


A good time was had by all.

To purchase these wines and others from Cyndi’s excellent portfolio contact her at

The Mellecey Wine Group

Check Fellini’s Facebook for our next event in March.


Wines for Valentines

Wines for Valentines

Okay lovers here are my top three picks for wines at Valentines (without breaking the bank). The candles are lit -the table is set- dinner is in the oven

(or you have Uber Eats on speed-dial) Here we go…

Prosecco Rose

Before dinner start with some bubbly…some pink bubbly. I recommend Bottega Prosecco Rose Brut -Strawberry, Raspberry nose with a crisp citrus finish.

Just enough to get you just a little bit silly.

Viognier

Shrimp Cocktail, Oysters or Smoked Salmon as an appetizer?

Pair it up with a luscious New World Viognier -an exotic grape variety traditionally planted in the Rhone Valley. Tropical, rich with a lovely orange apricot zing

Beaujolais St Amour

Veal chop, Roast chicken or Steak? Match it with a Cru Beaujolais from St Amour-red berries, plums, cherries and a distinctive Burgundian earthiness.

(And bonus points for the irony.)

Finish him or her or it off with the rest of the bubbly! Good luck with that…

Bottega Prosecco Rose Brut (Italy)

LCBO 277202 $15.00

McManus Viognier California

LCBO 658112 $19.95

Baptiste & Laurent Le Meilleurs des 2 Mondes

St Amour Beaujolais France

LCBO 566449 $ 19.95




Scott’s Wine Blog December

Scott’s Wine Blog December

On Tuesday November 27th Fellini Koolini’s Ball Room was home to a sold out themed Wine and Food Experience called” “Wine for the holidays.” The intent was to showcase lesser known and reasonably priced wines that would be appropriate offerings for Christmas family dinners and office parties.


Cremant D’Alsace  France

Same method as champagne and the second most popular sparkling wine in France (after champagne)

Tiny bubbles and a brioche nose.

Sud Absolut Blanc Dry Muscat Provence France

A lovely raspy dry concoction from a grape that usually is vinified off-dry .Floral and grapey

Guinand D’Oc Rouge Langedoc Roussillon France

60% Grenache, 40% Merlot- A well balanced red from the vineyards around Montpellier-the fastest growing city in France and 10 miles from the Mediterranean.

Marques de Plata Sauvignon Blanc Macabeo Valencia Spain

The macabeo grape softens the astringency of the sauvignon blanc for a light but crisp and refreshing flavour profile. Valencia-the third largest city in Spain and an important international port.

Marquis de Plata Tempranillo-Bobal Spain

Tempranillo is the primary grape of Rioja. The Bobal grape-indigenous to Spain gives this juicy red more body and power than the lighter red wines produced in Northern Spain.

These wines were pared with the following “Holiday themed” dishes-courtesy of Executive Chef

Mike “Smitty” Smith:


Roulade of Turkey with Smoked Bacon stuffing and pan juice gravy with Potato Croquette

Scalloped Potatoes on Smoked Ham with a Provencal Mustard

Brie baked in phyllo Pastry with Candied Walnuts and Cranberry Coulis


My favourite Summer Wines

My favourite Summer Wines

And the Winners are…

 

With a few exceptions I drink whites and roses in the summer and the switch to the reds in the fall.

There were two wines that stood out this summer that I highly recommend.

So here is my favourite rose and my favourite white of 2018.

Rose-324584 Vintages

A bit pricey at 23.95 Miraval Rose (The Jolie/Pitt Wine made by the Perrin family in the Cotes du Rhone) lived up the hype. The Perrin Family makes great inexpensive wines but they are known primarily as the producers of one of the world’s truly great wines-Chateau de Beaucastel (Chateauneuf du Pape.) The Grapes are Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault. The flavours are peach, apricot cantaloupe cherries and strawberries.

The wine is beautifully integrated and finishes dry and crisp.

The White-271940 Vintages

I love Vouvray!

It is classic white wine from the Loire Valley made with the

Chenin Blanc grape.

I tried quite a few before I found the one I recommend here. (With wines as in life you sometimes have to kiss a lotta frogs before you find your prince.)

Monmousseau Vouvray is an off dry version ripe with flavours of pineapple lemon and peach. There is a lovely acidity on the finish which makes it the perfect

anti-dote to the sweltering heat we have endured this summer.

At 11.5% alcohol and at $19.95 a bottle it was my go to white ….especially when I was standing over a BBQ

WE WERE THINKING PINK

WE WERE THINKING PINK

On June the 14th Fellinis hosted a stellar event which featured a selection of

Outstanding Rosé Wines. Rosés are enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity these days

(And rightly so.)The combination of acid and strawberry fruit is summer personified.  

Matching edibles were coordinated by our Executive Chef Mike “Smitty” Smith.

The wines were expertly presented by Cyndi Grossman from her Mellecey Group portfolio.

The wines were poured in sequence from light to medium to full bodied.

They included:

A sparkler from Spain’s Basque country Inazio Urruzola Txakolina Rosado 2015

Domaine La Ligiere Sud Absolu 2017 from Beaumes de Venise in Southern France

Domaine du Tix Cotes du Ventoux 2016 “Cuvee des Restanques in Southern France

Compania Bodeguera de Valenciso –Valencisco Rosado 2015 from Rioja Spain.

And as a grand finale –a stunning full bodied monster from Tuscany:

Duemani Si IGP Coasta Toscana Rosato 2014

The versatility of Rosé as a food matching wine was ably demonstrated by these plates.

Classic Prosciutto and Melon

Smoked Salmon with Caper Aioli

Grilled Brussel Sprout Pizza with Balsamic glazed Red Onions

Strips of Grilled Sirloin with a Chimichurri Sauce.

 

These wines are sourced available exclusively through Cyndi

www.melleceywinegroup.com

 

Thanks to all the participants who made our event fun and informative.

Our next event will take place the last week of July.

Watch our Facebook Page for details!

Think Pink

Think Pink

Scott’s Wine Blog

Think Pink

Rosé wine is finally having Its’ “IT” Moment.

Long denigrated as a less serious manifestation of the vine,

Serious wine consumers are finally relaxing with an admission that pink wine is worthy of serious recognition and of celebration.

In France (the unofficial world Headquarters for this genre) Rosé wine now outsells white wine.

The colour of wine is determined by how long the crushed grapes have been in contact with their skins during fermentation. For Rosé wine skin contact with red grapes can be as little as 2 hours and up to four days. The longer the juice soaks with the skins the darker the colour.

An interesting aside-Pinot Grigio is actually a red grape that produces white wine (no skin contact).

The go-to role model for the production of great Rosé wines is in Provence and The Cotes du Rhone region in southern France.

The Appellation of Tavel is the most famous.

Grown on sandy soil it has a clear ruby colour with intense flavours of red fruits and a subtle minerality. The grapes used are Grenache Syrah and Clairette. There are many styles of Rosè but this is my favourite.

I love the dry raspy raspberry flavour and the crisp finish.

There is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer’s day.

Rosé as a food wine is incredibly versatile but to my mind it is the ultimate BBQ wine.

On Thursday June 14th join us at Fellinis for a Rosè tasting matched with some delicious tapas from our kitchen.

For more information go: https://www.facebook.com/events/1114525942020858/

What is Amarone?

What is Amarone?

This blog is dedicated to Suzanne and Kelly who sent me a photo of one of Italy’s Iconic red wines which they were enjoying in a restaurant in Ottawa.

The production of Amarone (Great bitter one”) involves a unique labour intensive twist on the conventional method. The process called Appassimento turns the relatively light reds of Veneto in Northern Italy (Valpolicella) into rich syrupy “high alcohol monsters.

This is how they do it. About 40% of the harvest is allowed to ripen later than the rest of the crop. These late ripened grapes are then laid out on bamboo mats for three to four months.

The grapes shrivel which results in a greater concentration of sugar and flavour.

When the grapes are eventually crushed and fermented the result is a rich full bodied wine that can sometimes have up to 16% of alcohol by volume. The grapes are primarily Corvina blended with some Rondinella, Molinara and Negrara. The result is a rich opulent raisiny red.

Consumers are willing to pay a premium for the extra time and work that goes into the production of a fine Amarone ($60.00 and up).

In Niagara many tobacco drying sheds have been converted to Appassimento warehouses.

The setup is exactly the same and the results are similar to those in Northern Italy.

Mild reds are boosted into high octane powerhouses.

A good buy that falls somewhere in between Valpolicella and Amarone is anything described as Appassimento. At Fellinis we carry a great example of this:

Pasqua Passimento LCBO #141952

It is made near Verona Italy 14% alcohol  $13.99

Ripe cherries , cranberry, vanilla and spices .

An Outstanding Sicilian White

An Outstanding Sicilian White

In my never ending quest to find emerging or previously underestimated wines from different corners of the earth the island of Sicily has been making some noise lately.

Reds mostly- with the “go to” grape being Nero d’Avola.

Sicily’s vinicultural history has been more attuned to quantity than quality. Sicilian Dessert wines such as Moscato Passito and Marsala rival Spain’s Sherries and Portugal’s Ports as international options for premium fortified wines. And speaking of Marsala I discovered that one of the key grapes used in its production “Inzolia” is capable of producing a knockout white. The Producer is Feudo Montoni. The 30 year old vines are cultivated on steep slopes of clay and sand. The harvested grapes are fermented in cement vats on their lees. The result is a  remarkable aromatic, flavourful Italian white wine. Frankly as good as I have ever tasted. The flavours include pear, yellow melon, honey and chamomile. There is a long dry crisp finish.

This wine pairs well with grilled fish and white meats.

(And for tree huggers out there the wine is certified organic.)

Available at Vintages

Feudo Montoni Inzolia Fornelli 2016 DOC Sicily

13.5% Alcohol 22.95 LCBO 539932

 

A Tale of two Pinots

A Tale of two Pinots

I spend every Christmas Eve in Toronto at my brother’s house where my sister in law Allison cooks up a fine Prime Rib from Brunos a fabulous and not cheap Butcher shop. We tend to save our best wines for this sacred occasion. My offering this year was a pair of pricey Pinot Noirs.

Pinot Noir the major red grape from Burgundy has been coined “the Heartbreak Grape” due to its’ finicky nature and the difficulty winemakers all over the world have turning it into delicious wine.

So my candidates were:

1.An unfiltered Pinot Noir from Prince Edward County made by that emerging regions most celebrated wine maker Norman Hardie.

2.And an iconic Pinot from Santa Barbara California made by Hitching Post  Winery.

Norman Hardie’s Pinot (as judged by six knowledgeable tasters)

Was: thin, insipid and forgettable…..and it cost me $42…

Now that was heartbreaking. Big Fail

Hitching Post Pinot you may recognize or remember as the anti-dote to the protagonists’  “boring” Merlots in the movie Side Ways. At $35 it offered a good solid example of a rich fruit forward supple California version of the iconic grape variety. I would call that a moderate success.

I realized later that part of my lack of enthusiasm for both wines was due to the fact that a week before I attended an Open House chez Cyndi Grossman (Mellecey Wine Agency). Among the huge array of stellar wines she represents She poured about 10 Burgundies that were just stunning. 

A sip of Gevrey Chambertin from Domaine Drouhin Laroze and you’re done….

And your objectivity permanently ruined when tasting any other Pinot Noir for the rest of your life. (Thanks Cyndi)

A Luscious Portuguese Red for a Winter’s Night

A Luscious Portuguese Red for a Winter’s Night

Portugal’s claim to fame in the wine world has historically been tied to the production of one of the world’s classic dessert wines. And then, of course, there was Mateus and Vinho Verde my entry level introduction to wine like many others during my university years. But in the past few decades the improved quality of Portuguese table wines has served notice that they have arrived with a big bang on the world stage. Modernization of winemaking techniques has left the foot stomping behind producing better quality and more consistent results. The first wave saw Port winemakers in the Douro vineyards simply using the same grapes that they used to make Port and transforming them into high octane table wines. This jump started a movement that spread to other historic wine regions in Portugal. The wine that I am recommending this week has an unorthodox mixture of grape varieties and comes from Alentejo-Portugal’s biggest grape growing region in the south-east of the country bordering Spain.

This region also supplies about half of the world’s supply of cork.

This wine currently featured in your LCBO Vintages section is robust and concentrated with flavours of black fruit, dark chocolate and raspberries. The grapes are Syrah, Cabernet and Alicante Bouschet-a Grenache clone. Checking in at 14.5% alcohol, aged in French oak and coming in at just a little less than $16:00 this is a great opportunity for you to expand your palate. Works well with spicy chicken or a rich stew.

Chardonnay Revival 3 Stories

Chardonnay Revival 3 Stories

The last decade or so chardonnay has lost its’ lustre as the “go to”
white in North America. There has even been a snarling attack by wine
snobs on the alleged mediocrity of the grape –with its’ own caustic
acronym: ABC (Anything But Chardonnay)
Pinot Grigio to some extent has knocked chardonnay off its’s top
leaderboard position but wine lovers are also discovering and learning
to experiment with other unique white grape varieties.

That’s a good thing. However there is much to be celebrated if you take
the time to revisit the diversity of styles available in chardonnays from

different international terroirs.

Macon Lugny Bouchard Pere & Fils Burgundy $16.00

A real bargain for a white burgundy from a reputable House. You can
taste the chalky terroir with intense fruit and a nose of apples and
biscuits. I paired it with some raw Malpeque Oysters -perfect.
Chardonnay Cave Spring Niagara VQA $16.00

A terrific chardonnay made from 25 year old vines in Niagara. Soft
peach and pear flavours with the scent of vanilla. Served by the glass at
Fellinis. I matched it with a slab of grilled swordfish with a lemon caper

butter…delicious.

Kendell Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Sonoma County $19.95
This rich and exotic blockbuster - in your face. Beautifully balanced
though. I drank it with a big fatty centre cut pork chop from Farm Boy

with a mango chutney on the side. That worked!

Note: Word to the wise:

Macon Lugny and Kendell Jackson are currently $2 off at the LCBO.